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Preliminary — How  I  became  a  nurse — Workhouse  Infirmaries — 
Infirmary  Nursing  Association — Cardiff  Union  Hospital — 
Sad  state  of  things — Reforms — Dr.  Sheen — Night  nursing 
begun  —  House  surgeon  —  Health  gives  way  —  Typhoid  at 
Johannesburg — English  nurses  going  out  —  I  join  them — 
Sister  Lucy  Sleeman — From  Natal  to  Johannesburg — Life  in 
the  "Golden  City" — Impecuniosity — Life  in  the  Home — A 
ball — Visit  to  a  gold-mine — We  leave  for  Kimberley — The 
coach — A  drunken  neighbour — Kimberley — The  hospital — 
The  diamond  mines  —  De  Beers  compound  —  Precautions 
against  diamond  stealing — Night  duty — We  propose  returning 
to  England  .....      Page  I 


Leave  Kimberley — Hear  of  Bishop  Knight  Bruce — Offer  to  go  to 
Mashonaland — Tickets  to  England — Miss  the  train — A  day 
outside  Kimberley — Bishop's  telegram — Off  to  Cape  Town — 
Meet  Bishop — Settle  to  join  Mission — Leave  the  Roslyn  Castle 
— Mr.  Maund — Decide  to  go  vid  Piingwe — Plans  changed — 
Stop  at  Durban — Canon  Booth — Indian  Mission — Bishop  off 
to  Maritzburg — Lodging  hunting — Durban  and  its  inhabitants 
— Visit  to  house  of  Jamieson — Mosquitoes — Kaffir  huts — 
Indian  service — Bishop  returns — Leaves  for  Beira  without  us 


— "Major"  Johnson — Dr.  Doyle  Glanville — Off  at  last — 
Fellow-passengers — Inhambane — The  Queen's  health — Beira 
— Fighting  up  country — Battle  of  Chua — H.M.S.  Magicienne 
— Johnson  again — Captain  Ewing  to  the  rescue — Off  to 
Mozambique  —  Mr.  Grant's  natives — Quilimane  —  Curios — 
Beira  again  .....        Page  25 


On  the  Pflngwe — Sixteen  hours  in  the  Shark — Hippopotami — 
Crocodiles — Intense  heat — 'Mpanda's — Nowhere  to  sleep — 
Lions — Old  Wilkins — Dr.  Todd  of  the  Magicienne — Fever — 
Work  among  the  natives — Camp  life — The  Consul — A  plague 
of  rats — Arrival  of  Dr.  Glanville — News  from  the  Bishop — 
Disputes  among  Mission  workers — Livingstonian  anecdote — 
Sir  John  Willoughby  and  monkey-nuts — Collapse  of  transport 
— We  must  walk  one  hundred  and  ninety  miles — Opposition 
— The  enemy  routed — The  Portuguese  commandante — A 
Portuguese  military  hospital — Departure  of  Consul — Wilkins 
in  search  of  bearers — His  dramatic  return — No  money — Lieut. 
Robertson  to  the  rescue    ....  83 


The  start — A  "dug-out" — Missing  load — A  kraal — Native  funeral 
— On  the  road — Another  kraal — Lions — A  Portuguese  break- 
fast— No  water — Captain  Winslow — We  meet  two  white  men 
— Honey-birds — Lions  again — Sarmento — A  native  hunt — 
Trouble  with  carriers — Forced  march  —  Masse-Kesse — We 
lose  our  way — Illness  of  Sister  Aimee — At  last  Umtali — The 
Bishop    .  .  .  .  .  .  119 


Sabi  Ophir — Illness  of  Dr.   Glanville — Dr.  Lichfield — Lieutenant 


Eustace  Fiennes — No  boots — High  prices — Maquaniqua  the 
queen — Arrival  of  Mr.  Sutton — Holy  Communion — Captain 
Heany — Sad  death  of  Dr.  Glanville — Site  of  the  Mission 
farm — Appearance  of  Colonel  Pennefather  .     Page  146 


Settling  down  at  Sabi  Ophir — Difficulties  of  cooking — No  luggage 
— Gold  panning — Mr.  Sutton  leaves  the  Bishop — Description 
of  our  huts — Visit  from  a  hyaena — Arrival  of  Mrs.  Tulloch 
and  children — The  question  of  food — Flowers — Mr.  Selous 
visits  Umtali — Mr.  Teal  devoured  by  a  lion — The  native 
labour  question — Evils  of  drink — Our  boxes  are  rifled  by  the 
natives — Our  first  patient — The  Administrator  arrives  at 
Umtali — Hospital  hut  opened — Bishop  leaves  for  England — 
Horrors  of  night  duty — Arrival  of  Mr.  Rhodes — Site  of  camp 
moved — The  rains  begin — Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bent       .  165 


Leaving  Old  for  New  Umtali — Our  Malay  boy  Jonosso — "Your 
Excellency's  plate" — Rain — Waiting  for  the  waggon  —  An 
accident — Water-tight  huts — Furnishing  the  hospital — Sister 
Lucy  as  carpenter — The  white  prisoner — His  thumbs  tied — 
Algernon  Caulfield  makes  an  arm-chair — Illness  and  departure 
of  Eustace  Fiennes — Sister  B.  Welby  and  Dr.  Lichfield — 
Arrival  of  our  clergyman — His  strange  attire — His  disputes 
with  the  Mission  workers — He  "  chucks  his  orders  " — Advent 
of  a  professional  baker — Sister  Lucy's  cake — Its  effect  on 
Col.  Pennefather — Wedding  cake — The  first  marriage  in 
Manica — Keeping  Christmas — The  police  deputation — The 
cow — Sports — Magistrate  and  Civil  Commissioner  "on  the 
burst" — All  the  police  arrest  each  other — The  last  man — 
General  amnesty — The  Colonel  again — "Order  of  the  Sack" 
— Good-byes  .  .  .  .  198 



The  hospital — Patients — Work — Contrivances — Project  of  brick 
hospital — Poultry  yard — Capricious  hens — Mashona  cows — 
The  bread  question — Our  baker— Attempts  to  bake  himself — 
A  breadless  community — Montague  Bowden — His  last  game 
of  cricket — His  illness  and  death — Scaring  off  wild  beasts — 
The  funeral — Our  dispenser  "on  the  burst" — Opium  poison- 
ing— Dispenser  attempts  suicide — Imprisoned — Our  protest — 
Dispenser  dismissed — Illness  of  Sister  Lucy — Flight  of  natives 
— A  terrible  week — Drink — An  extraordinary  bill — Departure 
of  magistrate — The  reign  of  Law  in  Manica — Birth  of  first 
English  child  in  Mashonaland — Serious  illness  of  Mrs.  Tulloch 
— Our  huts  burnt  to  the  ground — Narrow  escape  of  Mrs. 
Tulloch — A  tipsy  fire  brigade — Generosity — Arrival  of  Dr. 
Matthew  Johnston — Our  patient  saved — Christening  of  Cecil 
Rhodes  Tulloch — He  leaves  the  hospital  in  triumph 

Page  216 


A  free  day — A  visit  to  Chiconga — Climbing  a  kopje — The  kraal — 
Gungunyama's  raids — The  council  hut — The  chieftainess  and 

her    "warriors" — Her  answer  to  the   Bishop — We  trade 

Fashion  amongst  natives — A  blind  Lovelace — Instance  of 
ferocity — Kissing — Intelligent  children — Absence  of  religious 

notions — Differences  of  language — Ancient  gold  workings 

Worship  of  Isis — Mosaic   Law  —  Small-pox — Inoculation 

Native  vanity — Inferior  iron-work — Carved  snuff-boxes Fire- 
sticks — Principal  food — Produce — Curious  calabashes — Dis- 
gusting reports — Chiconga's  return  visit— A  chief's  assegai 
— A  demand  for  fire-water — A  Woman's  Rights  argument 
— The  royal  baby — An  endless  visit — Jonosso  to  the  rescue 
— The  Queen  retires         ....  239 



A  tale  of  horror — "  Smelling  out  witches  " — Maronka — His  prisoner 
— An  expedition  to  rescue  him — The  encampment — Lions — 
Native  carried  off — Half  devoured — Horses  attacked — Night 
of  terror — A  plucky  terrier  —  The  dead  lioness  —  Maronka 
submits — Mr.  Carden — Home  again — Another  lion  story — 
Vogler — Besieged  by  lions — A  terrible  situation — No  water — 
Rescued — Too  late — Vogler's  death — More  lions — Siege  of 
Umtali — Warlike  funeral — Night  alarm — A  reign  of  terror — 
Township  attacked — Tracked  to  his  lair — The  dead  monarch 
— Lying  in  state — At  peace  once  more     .  .     Page  257 


A  luxury — Mr.  Seymour-Fort — An  eccentric  drive — A  luncheon 
party — China  versus  tin — 111  -  behaved  guests — Moonlight — 
Our  carriage  and  pair — "Pills  and  Powders" — Their  friend- 
ship with  our  monkey — Warned  of  a  snake — An  execution — 
Dr.  Johnston  departs  —  No  doctor  —  A  patient  from  Masse- 
Kesse — Clark  and  Paget — Amusing  notes — The  doctor  at 
last  —  A  cause  celebre  —  Troublesome  results — What's  in  a 
name  ? — Gold  finds — The  gold  fever — Wonderful  reefs — The 
Queen  of  Sheba's  kingdom  .  .  .  279 


The  hospital  empty  at  last — An  expedition  proposed — We  trek 
to  the  Odzani — A  picnic — Our  camp  by  the  "  Slippery  Drift  " 
— The  march  to  M'Tassa's  kraal — A  wearisome  delay — The 
King  appears — A  noisy  palaver — Offering  a  present — Kaffir 
beer — The  King  is  photographed — Bushman  drawings — Re- 
turn home  —  Cattle  stealing  —  A  warlike  expedition  —  The 
"  Artillery  "  borrow  our  donkey  harness — An  awful  old  woman 


Return  of  the  expedition — News  of  the  Bishop's  return — 
Nurses  to  relieve  us — The  Beira  Railway — The  Jesuit  Mission 
— Splendid  organisation  ....     Page  294 


Illness — Visit  from  a  leopard — Tedious  convalescence — Again  with- 
out a  doctor — Arrival  of  the  Bishop — New  nurses  on  the  way 
— Their  arrival  at  Umtali — A  split  in  the  camp — A  touch- 
ing deputation — Farewell  to  Umtali — Fever  en  route — In  the 
train  —  Fontesvilla — Arrival  at  Beira — A  transformation — 
Lieutenant  Hussey- Walsh — Hospitality — The  Consul's  ball 



We  leave  Beira — On  board  the  German  steamer  Kaiser — Dar-es- 
Salaam  —  Evangelical  Mission  —  Mission  hospital  —  Emin 
Pasha's  daughter,  Ferida — A  madman  on  board — His  strange 
diet — "We  can't  lock  up  an  Englishman!" — His  death — 
Zanzibar — The  English  Mission — Splendid  organisation — The 
hospital  —  On  board  H.M.S.  Raleigh — Bishop  Smythies — 
Aden — The  Red  Sea — Untimely  sausages — Mr.  Wolf,  the 
German  explorer — Port  Said — Europe  at  last  .  327 



Preliminary — How  I  became  a  nurse — Workhouse  Infirm- 
aries— Infirmary  Nursing  Association — Cardiff  Union 
Hospital — Sad  state  of  things — Reforms — Dr.  Sheen 
— Night  nursing  begun  —  House  surgeon  —  Health 
gives  way — Typhoid  at  Johannesburg — English 
nurses  going  out — I.  join  them — Sister  Lucy  Sleeman 
— From  Natal  to  Johannesburg — Life  in  the  "  Golden 
City" — Impecuniosity — Life  in  the  Home — A  ball — 
Visit  to  a  gold-mine — We  leave  for  Kimberley — The 
coach  —  A  drunken  neighbour  —  Kimberley  —  The 
hospital — The  diamond  mines — De  Beers  compound 
— Precautions  against  diamond  stealing — Night  duty 
— We  propose  returning  to  England. 

The    unexpected    always    happens,   and   no- 
thing happens  but  the  unexpected ! 

If  anyone  had  told  me,  ten  years  before- 
hand, that  the  year  1890  would  find  me  a 
nurse,  tending  the  sick  in  the  heart  of  Africa, 
I  should  have  laughed  the  predictor  to 
scorn.     Of  all  unlikely  fates  that  might  befall 



one,  that  seemed  the  most  improbable.  And 
a  very  trivial  incident  decided  the  event. 

In  a  village  near  which  I  often  stayed 
was  an  old  man  suffering  from  cancer.  I 
used  to  go  and  see  him.  On  the  occasion  of 
one  of  these  visits  I  met  the  doctor,  and 
asked  if  the  old  fellow  would  not  be  better 
cared  for  in  the  Workhouse  Infirmary? 
Thereupon  the  doctor  enlightened  me  as  to 
the  condition  of  the  neighbouring  Union 
Infirmary,  pouring  forth  a  sad  tale  of  untrained 
nursing,  bad  food,  neglect,  and  sometimes 
ill-treatment.  He  had  done  what  he  could  ; 
had  represented  matters  to  the  guardians,  and 
had  written  to  the  Government  Inspector,  but 
all  to  no  purpose.  The  infirmary  cost  little, 
and  economy  was  the  first  consideration. 
Humanity  came  a  long  way  after. 

Just  then  a  report  of  the  "  Workhouse 
Infirmary  Association"  fell  into  my  hands. 
This  Association  aimed  at  supplying  Union 
Infirmaries  with  trained  nurses.  Its  report 
echoed  the  doctor's  tale  of  neglect. 

In  a  very    few  days  my   resolution   was 


taken.  I  would  be  a  nurse,  and  work  for 
the  Association,  and  when  I  had  once  made 
up  my  mind  it  did  not  take  long  to  carry  my 
resolution  into  effect. 

After  a  medical  and  surgical  training,  I 
went  through  a  course  of  midwifery,  a  know- 
ledge of  which  is  essential  in  workhouse 
nursing,  and,  when  I  had  obtained  the  London 
Obstetrical  Society's  diploma,  I  applied  to 
the  Association,  stating  that  I  wished  to  work 
in  a  country  workhouse.  A  few  weeks  later 
I  went  as  superintendent  nurse  to  the  Cardiff 
Union  Hospital. 

It  is  not  my  intention  to  write  here  about 
workhouse  infirmaries.  I  will  briefly  state 
that  the  Cardiff  guardians  were  exceptionally 
humane,  and  even  liberal ;  and  that  the 
"  master  "  was  enlightened  and  interested  in 
the  hospital.  Yet  the  arrangements  for 
nursing  the  sick  were  incredibly  bad.  I  had 
charge  of  between  three  and  four  hundred 
beds.  My  nurses  were  untrained ;  there 
were  no  night-nurses.  Typhoids,  covered 
with  bed  sores,  were  left  at  night  to  the  care  of 

,//»//  A/7  A7-.V 

an  old  \\  t  nan  from  the  "house."    Pneumonia 

cases,  and  unfortunates  in  the  lasl  slaves  ol" 
phthisis,  had  to  look  all<  i  themseh  e-,  I'he 
fust    time  I   wcni    round    with    the   doctor,  lie 

said,   "Begin  with  die  children's  ward,  it 

smells    like    the    den    ol    a  wild    beast  !"       Yet 

Dr.  Sheen  had  already  improved  the  place 

ver\    uui.  h  ind<  .  d, 

The  moment  I,  as  a  trained  nurse,  caused 
ih.  ,,,;■<  ni  want  ol  a  nkdit  nurse  to  he  laid 
before  the  Hoard,  the)  supplied  the  deficient  \. 
Dun. uiu  J  attendants,  howevei  praiseworthy, 
i  annot  w<  II  jud^e  ol  wh.u  p.  .»  real  want, 
.ind  wh.u  ran  he  done  without.  Kven  il 
then    |iiJ::iii<  nl    is  y^nu]   it   ,  allies  no  weight. 

teen  months  later  Cardiil  I  lospital  had 
a  -a. ill  ol  n. micd  nurses.  The  eaiardiaus  had 
i.  solved  to  appoint  a  resident  house  surgeon. 

The  sick  were  well  cared  for.     Dr,  Sheen 

would  lone,  before  have  carried  out  these 
i.  forms,  il  he  had  had  an\  ti. lined  nurses  to 
work  wnh  him.  I  count  him  anions;  ni\  best 
h  i.  mis. 

About  this  time  inv  health  be^an  to  break 

•v  m  ts-:\\\  t:  ix:> 

down,  ami  1  was  ailvisoil  to  try  a  imam;o  ol 
work.  I  harm*;  that  aw  qmlomir  o!  typhoiil 
was  ravajMm;  Johannesburg,  aiul  that  several 

11  lined  nurses  were  going  out  to  establish  a 
Nurses*  Home  there,  I   resolved    to  join 

them.      Four  of  these  ladies  loft   in  January 

iSoo        1     iml    our    uu'ir  wvic  to  start    in    the 


March,  therefore,  saw  me  hurrying   to 
Lisbon  vid  Paris.     I  was  a  bad  sailor,  and 

wished  to  avoivl  the  terrible  bay. 

Rain  and  storm  pursued  me,   however, 
and  on  one  of  the  wildest  days  that  yet 

permitted     a     boat     to     loavo    tho    shore.     I 

embarked  for  Africa  on  the  Union  S.S. 
Spartan,    The  other  nurse  had  sailed  from 

Southampton,   ami    wo    met    on    Kuril.       I  ler 

name  was  Lucy  Sleeman.  We  have  been 
together  ever  since,  and  have  lived  through 

main    strange  experiences. 

Alter  a\\  uneventful  voyage  wo   lamloil   at 

Durban,  Natal,  of  which  we  saw  nothing, 
having  to  hasten  on  to  our  destination.  In 
those  days  the  journey  could  only  be  accom- 


plished  by  a  twelve  hours'  railway  journey, 
and  about  sixty  hours  in  a  coach.  The 
drive  from  Ladysmith,  where  the  railway 
ended,  to  the  border  of  the  Orange  Free 
State  was  lovely.  The  road  wound  up 
through  lofty  mountain  ranges,  and  the  air 
was  deliciously  pure  and  fresh.  Then 
followed  a  long  monotonous  journey  across 
the  Free  State,  mile  after  mile  of  the  same 
burnt-up  veldt.  We  nurses  rejoiced  indeed 
when  the  roofs  of  the  "  Golden  City " 
glittered  in  the  afternoon  sun.  They  were 
not  golden  roofs — far  from  it !  Some  were 
made  of  corrugated  iron,  some  of  biscuit 
cins.  But  the  effect  was  good,  and  the 
sight  welcome.  It  all  meant  a  bath  and  a 
bed,  two  luxuries  from  which  we  had  been 
severed  since  we  left  Natal. 

A  pretty  little  nurse  in  a  neat  grey  cloak 
and  bonnet  met  us  at  the  coach  office.  She 
looked  fagged,  and  told  us  she  had  just 
recovered  from  typhoid.  We  found  after- 
wards that  an  undue  share  of  nursing  had 
fallen  to  her  lot.      She  slaved  like  a  little 


heroine  amongst  the  typhoids,  and  the  good 
order  which  reigned  in  the  little  Home 
Hospital  was  almost  solely  due  to  her  exer- 
tions.     Her  name  was  Sister  Janet  Hickman. 

The  Home  itself  was  far  from  a  desirable 
place.  Sister  Lucy  Sleeman  soon  went  out 
to  a  case.  For  five  weeks  she  nursed  a 
typhoid,  in  a  four -roomed  house  in  which 
nine  people  lived !  The  men  of  the  house 
used  to  return  home  about  five  p.m.,  and 
generally  went  straight  to  bed.  For  a  long 
time  Sister  Lucy  could  not  understand  the 
reason  of  this  unusual  arrangement,  but 
finally  discovered  that  they  were  almost 
always  tipsy.  In  those  days  the  Johannes- 
burgher  was  usually  tipsy  towards  evening. 
The  "boom"  was  over,  business  was  at  a 
standstill.  Thousands  of  people  were  utterly 
ruined,  and  many  men  drank  to  drown  care. 
Very  few  then  believed  that  Johannesburg 
would  ever  again  recover  itself,  but  it  is  now 
as  flourishing  as  in  the  best  days  of  the 
famous  "boom." 

And  what  an  amazing  place  it  is  !     In  less 


than  two  years  a  large  city  sprang  up  on  the 
bare  veldt.  True,  some  of  the  houses  were 
eccentric.  When  we  were  there  in  1890 
there  were  still  houses  built  solely  of  biscuit 
tins,  with  Huntley  and  Palmer's  labels  cling- 
ing here  and  there.  But  there  was  also  a 
stately  street  of  stone  buildings,  as  well  as  a 
fine  Exchange.  The  suburb  of  Dornfontein, 
with  its  well-built  houses  and  villas,  had 
already  united  itself  to  the  town.  There 
were  hotels,  clubs,  public  ballrooms,  and 
concert  rooms.  And,  best  of  all,  there  was 
a  theatre,  where  the  "  gods  "  made  the  best 
part  of  the  entertainment  with  their  amusing 
comments  on  audience  and  stage — comments 
which  were  delivered  in  the  most  unabashed 
tones,  and,  as  a  rule,  were  taken  good- 

The  Johannesburgher  is  passionately  fond 
of  dancing,  so  the  penniless  condition  of  our 
Home  was  naturally  considered  a  good 
excuse  for  getting  up  a  charity  ball. 

Over  three  hundred  people  went,   and  a 
special  request  was  made    that    the    nurses 


should  be  represented.  Several  of  them 
therefore  attended.  They  described  the 
proceedings  as  eccentric,  to  say  the  least. 
Nearly  all  the  men,  who  were  of  course  in  a 
large  majority,  were  very  tipsy  by  ten  o'clock. 
Revolving  couples  cannonaded  each  other, 
tumbled  down,  and  could  not  get  up  again. 
A  Church  of  England  clergyman  played  the 
fiddle  in  the  orchestra.  He  was  attired  in 
the  usual  swallow-tail ;  and  wore  tight  black 
knee  breeches,  silk  stockings,  shoes  and 
buckles.  The  next  day  his  ungrateful  flock 
commented  in  the  papers  on  the  thinness  of 
his  legs. 

It  was  indeed  a  new  and  strange  world — 
not  such  a  bad  one,  however.  Whatever 
may  be  their  faults,  the  Johannesburghers 
possess  two  fine  virtues  in  an  unusual  degree. 
Enterprise  and  rare  generosity  distinguish 
them  from  other  South  African  communities. 
Notwithstanding  the  general  distress  they 
gave  lavishly  to  our  Home,  but  could  not 
save  it  from  bankruptcy. 

Our  servants,  who  were  only  black  boys, 


were  always  running  away  ;  often  there  was 
only  one  boy  to  do  all  the  work  of  both 
houses.  So  the  sisters  and  nurses  had  to 
do  their  own  cleaning  and  sweeping  in  the 
Home  ;  whilst  two  of  us  were  in  the  other 
house — one  cleaning  grates,  lighting  fires, 
and  so  on  ;  the  other  in  the  kitchen,  washing 
potatoes,  and  generally  tidying  up.  We  en- 
deavoured to  make  our  Kaffir  boy,  Cornelius 
Agrippa,  clean  saucepans.  But  in  a  very 
short  time  he  flung  his  saucepan  down,  disap- 
peared into  a  sort  of  packing-case  house  in 
the  garden,  and  refused  to  move  for  at  least 
half  an  hour.  It  was  amusing  cooking  our 
own  dinners,  some  of  us  being  fairly  good 
cooks.  In  the  middle  of  our  dinner  the 
butcher's  boy  would  arrive  ;  he  came  for  his 
"  little  cheque."  We  told  him,  as  usual,  that 
we  had  no  money.  This  happened  regularly 
every  day.  He  always  returned  looking 
quite  hopeful.  We  used  to  tell  him  he 
would  be  paid  in  the  "  week  of  the  four 
Thursdays."  This  speech  caused  him  great 
amusement,  but    did    not  damp  his    ardour. 


The  Home  really  was  in  a  dreadful  state. 
We  had  hoped  to  make  it  a  nursing  centre, 
and  eventually  have  a  large  hospital,  but 
it  was  crippled  by  a  large  debt.  When 
we  arrived  in  Johannesburg  we  found 
only  ^5  in  the  bank.  Without  money 
it  was  only  just  possible  to  scramble  along 
as  best  one  could,  looking  after  the  few 
young  fellows  who  were  admitted  to  the 
Home.  We  could  take  in  eleven.  These 
boys — they  were  little  more — were  supposed 
to  pay  fifteen  shillings  a  day ;  stimulants, 
doctor's  fees,  and  drugs  extra.  Of  course 
very  few  were  ever  in  a  position  to  pay. 
Instead,  they  used  to  supply  the  Home  with 
boxes  of  chocolate  creams.  This,  though 
pleasant,  was  hardly  practical. 

Apropos  of  drugs,  we  sometimes  wondered 
whether  the  medical  men  were  in  partnership 
with  the  chemists.  One  never  saw  anything 
to  compare  with  the  patients'  prescription 
boards.  They  were  really  curiosities  of  litera- 
ture !  It  was  astonishing  that  any  enteric 
case,  swallowing  such  a  quantity  of  horrible 


stuff,  and  changing  his  medicines  nearly 
every  day,  should  have  survived.  Yet  some 
of  them  did  recover  in  spite  of  the  treatment. 
About  twenty  per  cent  died.  Of  course  there 
were  exceptions.  Several  distinguished 
doctors  were  in  practice  at  Johannesburg, 
but  in  those  days  were  in  a  small  minority. 

Sister  Lucy,  myself,  and  two  other  English 
nurses,  moved  heaven  and  earth  to  escape 
from  the  place.  This  was  not  so  easy. 
Distances  are  enormous  in  Africa,  and  the 
smallest  move  is  very  costly.  At  last,  after 
much  correspondence,  the  doors  of  Kimberley 
Hospital  were  opened  to  us,  and  we  prepared 
to  leave  Johannesburg  after  a  sojourn  of  less 
than  six  months. 

Before  leaving  we  drove  out  to  the 
cemetery,  where  the  husband  of  a  friend  of 
ours  lay  buried.  She  was  in  England,  and 
had  begged  me  to  take  a  few  flowers  to  his 
grave.  What  a  sad,  sad  sight  it  was  !  There, 
within  a  small  space,  their  graves  simply 
numbered,  lay  hundreds  of  young  English- 
men   and   a    number   of  young    women.      I 


think  that  not  more  than  two  or  three  of 
them  were  past  forty  when  they  died.  By 
far  the  larger  number  were  between  twenty 
and  twenty-eight.  It  was  most  affecting, 
too,  to  see  long,  long  rows  of  tiny  graves, 
suggestive  of  such  heart-breaking  sorrow. 
The  mortality  amongst  women  and  children 
had  been  terrible.  "  When  I  came  up  here," 
said  a  doctor  to  me,  "the  women  were 
literally  dying  like  rotten  sheep.  One  never 
expected  to  get  a  confinement  safely  over." 
I  think  we  were  all  glad  to  turn  our  backs 
on  that  cemetery,  feeling  grateful  surprise 
that  none  of  our  number  were  to  be  left 
behind  there. 

An  interesting  visit  to  a  gold-mine  occu- 
pied our  last  day  in  Johannesburg.  The 
"Robinson  mine"  was  then  the  most  flourish- 
ing on  the  Rand.  It  was  lighted  by  electric 
light,  and  its  battery  was  one  of  the  sights 
of  the  town.  As  we  alighted  from  our  Cape 
cart  at  the  door  of  the  manager's  house,  he 
courteously  welcomed  us,  and  took  us  to  the 
shaft,  down  which  we  were  to  descend.      It 


looked  rather  alarming,  the  darkness  was  so 
intense.  Where  was  the  electric  light? 
Certainly  nowhere  at  hand.  The  darkness 
of  the  shaft  looked  actually  solid.  Muster- 
ing up  courage,  we  got  into  a  sort  of  iron 
cage  with  open  sides,  and,  clinging  to  each 
other,  were  let  down  into  the  abyss.  After 
descending  for  a  few  seconds  one  feels  as  if 
one  was  going  up  again.  Then  one  seems 
to  stand  still.  This  is  a  dreadful  sensation. 
One  imagines  the  cage  toNbe  really  stationary, 
and  that  it  will  be  impossible  ever  to  ascend 
again.  Happily  these  fancies  do  not  last 
long.  We  soon  found  ourselves  at  the 
bottom  of  the  shaft,  and  stood  in  a  long  sub- 
terranean passage  or  gallery,  along  which  a 
small  tramway  ran.  In  the  dim  distance  a 
tiny  lamp  gleamed.  This  was  the  electric 
light.      It  might  have  been  a  night  light. 

Where  was  the  gold  ?  We  saw  nothing 
but  mud  and  rock.  Greatly  to  our  dis- 
appointment we  were  informed  that  no  gold 
could  be  seen.  The  trucks  which  natives 
pushed    along    the    tram-lines    were    full    of 


quartz.  This  dirty  -  looking  rubbish  was 
worth  immense  sums.  We  wandered  through 
many  of  these  galleries,  and  at  last,  not  a 
little  wet  and  muddy,  returned  to  the  light 
of  day. 

We  now  proceeded  to  the  battery,  a 
wonderful  place. 

In  an  enormous  shed  rose,  one  above  the 
other,  a  succession  of  platforms.  On  the  top- 
most platform  a  long  line  of  steam  hammers 
rose  and  fell  with  rhythmical  swing  and 
crash.  Night  and  day  they  crushed  the 
quartz,  which,  arriving  incessantly  in  trucks, 
was  precipitated  into  the  machines.  By-and- 
by  it  poured  forth  from  them  in  a  stream  of 
finest  powder.  This  stream  was  directed  on 
to  huge  plates  covered  with  mercury,  which 
occupy  the  second  platform.  Water  con- 
tinually flows  over  these  plates,  washing 
away  the  quartz.  Gold  mingles  with  the 
mercury,  forming  a  substance  called  "amal- 
gam." The  lower  platforms  are  occupied  by 
similar  plates  of  mercury,  which  catch  any 
gold  that  may  have  been  washed  away  with 


the  quartz.  The  residue  of  the  quartz-dust 
flows  away  into  a  sort  of  swamp.  This 
residue  is  called  "  tailings."  We  were  shown 
a  patch  of  "  tailings,"  and  told  it  was  worth 
^200,000  at  least. 

The  next  process  is  to  retort  the  "  amal- 
gam," separating  it  from  the  gold.  This 
latter  is  finally  melted,  and  flows  into  brick- 
shaped  moulds.  We  saw  there  gold  bricks 
worth  ^2000  each.  The  assayer  also  showed 
us  his  scales.  These  were  literally  adjusted 
to  a  hair ;  for  he  pulled  a  hair  from  his  beard 
and  showed  us  how  its  weight  was  accurately 
measured.  In  an  incredibly  short  time  the 
slightest  inaccuracy  in  the  scales  would  make 
an  important  difference  in  the  gold  returns. 

The  manager  offered  us  a  cup  of  tea,  and 
then  took  us  to  see  the  white  men's  quarters. 
These  were  very  comfortable.  There  was  a 
well-lit  messroom,  in  which  the  messboys 
were  laying  the  table,  very  tidily ;  a  reading- 
room,  and  a  well-filled  library. 

One  of  the  employes  told  us  that,  with  a 
little  common-sense,  a  man  could  save  from 


ten  to  fifteen  pounds  a  month.  The  higher 
employes  could  save  much  more.  The 
work  chiefly  consisted  in  superintending 
gangs  of  native  boys.  A  doctor  belonging 
to  the  mine  looked  after  the  sick. 

The  work  seemed  pleasanter  and  better 
paid  than  that  of  clerks  in  offices  at  home. 
Once  off  duty  you  were  as  good  as  your 
neighbour.  You  could  go  to  any  of  the 
balls  or  concerts  given  in  Johannesburg. 
There  were  little  or  no  caste  divisions. 
Barmaids  and  shop  girls  skipped  about  at 
the  balls.  Why  not?  The  wives  of  the 
"  upper  ten  "  had  many  of  them  been  bar- 
maids and  shop  girls  not  so  very  long  ago. 
Besides  all  this,  a  lucky  find  might  make  any 
miner  a  rich  man  in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye. 

At  last  the  hour  of  our  departure  from  the 
"  Golden  City  "  struck.  The  stars  were  still 
bright  in  the  heavens  as  we  said  good-bye  to 
the  Nurses'  Home,  and  hurried  through 
sleeping  Johannesburg  to  catch  the  Kimber- 
ley  coach.  We  were  on  foot ;  our  luggage 
had  been  sent  on  the  day  before, 

1 8  ADVENTURES  chap. 

The  coach  was  of  the  good  old-fashioned 
type,  and  a  great  improvement  on  the  spring- 
less  waggonette  which  had  brought  us  from 
Natal.  It  was  somewhat  the  worse  for  wear, 
having  been  brought  in  its  old  age  from 
California.  Bret  Harte's  chivalrous  ruffians 
had  probably  travelled  by  it.  This  appealed 
to  one's  imagination,  and  made  one  forget  its 
air  of  dilapidation. 

We  stowed  ourselves  away  each  in  a 
corner.  The  remaining  space  was  filled  by 
men,  none  of  them  very  slim,  and  one  enor- 
mously fat.  When  the  sun  rose  the  heat 
and  stuffiness  may  be  imagined.  We  were 
packed  like  sardines  in  a  box.  The  very  fat 
man  sat  between  Sister  Lucy  and  me.  He 
turned  out  the  best  of  the  lot  after  all,  taking 
great  care  of  our  comfort,  and  spending  long 
hours  in  the  blazing  heat  and  clouds  of  dust 
on  the  top  of  the  coach  to  give  us  more 
room.  His  name  was  Ross.  We  began  by 
thirsting  for  his  blood,  and  ended  by  thinking 
him  a  capital  fellow. 

We  left  Johannesburg  with  a  team  of  ten 


horses.  Every  hour  and  a  half  we  halted 
and  changed  the  team.  At  every  halt  the 
men  got  out  and  drank.  No  wonder!  If  I 
had  been  a  man  no  doubt  I  should  have 
done  the  same.  But  noblesse  oblige !  We 
were  women  ;  therefore  we  smiled  amiably 
at  heat,  thirst,  cramp,  and  general  discomfort. 
We  declared  it  wasn't  half  bad,  and  privately 
wished  we  had  never  been  born.  Sister 
Lucy  suffered  most.  She  is  tall,  and  her 
legs  would  not  fit  in  anywhere. 

The  coach,  with  its  outside  passengers 
and  its  miserable  twelve  inside,  rumbled 
along,  and  at  three  o'clock  in  the  afternoon 
brought  us  to  a  quaint  little  Dutch  village 
called  Potscherfstrom.  Here  we  rested  and 
refreshed  ourselves  for  an  hour.  Then  on 
again  till  eight,  when  we  reached  another 
village.  Here  we  remained  till  two  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  resting  meanwhile  on  some 
very  dubious  -  looking  beds.  Away  then 
through  cool  moonlight  and  blazing  day, 
doing  close  on  twenty  hours  with  only  an 
hour's  rest.     Sister  Lucy  got  outside  in  the 


moonlight,  and  drove  us  into  Christiana  at  a 
rattling  pace,  the  last  team  of  horses  being 
in  first-rate  form.  We  reached  Christiana  at 
half-past  ten  at  night,  and  were  conducted  to 
two  small  outhouses.  Sister  Lucy  and  I 
took  one,  the  other  two  nurses  the  other. 
The  place  was  unspeakably  dirty.  We 
spread  our  rugs  over  the  beds  and  lay  down. 
At  one  end  of  the  room  a  thin  muslin 
curtain  hung  over  an  opening  in  the  wall 
apparently  leading  to  a  large  cupboard. 
Towards  three  in  the  morning  we  were 
awakened  by  a  great  noise  in  the  yard  out- 
side. Strange  yells  and  scraps  of  songs  were 
followed  by  scuffling  and  the  sound  of  a 
heavy  fall,  apparently  in  the  cupboard  next 
our  room — then  silence.  We  dozed  a  little. 
Then  I  said,  "  It  must  be  nearly  five."  To 
our  horror  a  tipsy  voice  answered  from  the 
other  side  of  the  muslin  curtain,  "  Notsh 
fivesh,  foursh  ;  foursh,  I  tellsh  you."  There 
was  another  entrance  to  the  cupboard,  which 
was  a  small  room,  and  the  noisy  tipsy  man 
had  been  pushed  in  there ! 


We  fled  madly  to  the  other  nurses,  and 
were  very  glad  indeed  to  be  whirled  away 
in  the  coach  without  our  tipsy  neighbour. 
In  a  few  hours  we  reached  a  railway  station, 
and  a  train  quickly  carried  us  to  Kimberley. 

The  Hospital  is  rather  a  rambling  place. 
The  part  devoted  to  European  patients, 
nurses'  dining-room,  kitchen,  and  offices, 
formed  a  long  low  bungalow  set  in  the  midst 
of  pleasant  grounds.  Close  at  hand,  but 
scattered  irregularly  over  a  large  compound, 
were  the  native  wards — surgical,  medical, 
women,  and  lock — each  at  some  distance 
from  the  other.  The  nurses'  home  was  a 
building  apart.  The  nurses'  rooms  were 
built  round  a  flowery  quadrangle.  Each 
nurse  possessed  a  little  cell,  which  opened  on 
a  shady  verandah,  or  "  stoep,"  as  it  is  called 
in  Africa. 

Setting  aside  the  nursing  work,  I  believe 
that  few  hospitals  in  London  could  com- 
pete successfully  with  the  commissariat  of 
Kimberley  Hospital.  The  seclusion  and 
austere   respectability   of  this   institution   af- 

22  ADVENTURES  chap. 

forded  a  welcome  change  after  the  shiftless 
scramble  of  the  Johannesburg  Home. 

Kimberley  was  the  African  "  Golconda," 
just  as  Johannesburg  was  the  "  Golden  City." 
Therefore  as  soon  as  our  work  permitted  we 
paid  a  visit  to  the  De  Beers  diamond  mine. 
Warned,  however,  by  our  underground  ex- 
periences at  the  Robinson  mine,  we  refused 
to  leave  the  light  of  day.  We  saw  countless 
numbers  of  trucks  full  of  blue  clay,  in  which 
the  diamonds  are  imbedded.  Then  there  are 
the  rooms  where  the  diamonds  are  sorted. 
Unusual  specimens  are  kept  on  show.  But  we 
thought  nothing  so  interesting  as  the  great 

This  is  a  wide  space  within  a  great 
stockade  about  twelve  feet  high.  Strong 
wire  netting  was  fastened  above,  so  that  it 
looked  like  a  monstrous  aviary.  Here  the 
natives  who  work  in  the  mines  live,  to  the 
number  of  I  am  afraid  to  say  how  many 
hundreds.  They  engage  to  work  in  the 
mine  for  a  term  of  months,  agreeing  to  re- 
main prisoners  for  that  period.     They  sleep 


in  sheds  round  the  compound,  have  shops 
where  they  can  buy  what  they  choose,  and 
dens  where  they  smoke  a  sort  of  narcotic 
plant — in  its  effects  not  unlike  Indian  hemp. 
All  these  precautions  are  taken  to  prevent 
the  diamonds  from  being  stolen.  But  for  the 
wire  the  men  would  throw  the  stones  over 
the  stockade.  As  it  is  they  contrive  to  steal 
some.  The  difficulty  is  to  get  their  spoil  out 
of  the  compound.  A  day  or  two  before  their 
time  expires  they  are  carefully  searched. 
Strong  medicines  are  also  administered  in 
case  they  should  have  swallowed  a  diamond. 
A  native,  however,  is  very  cunning.  Some 
of  them  have  been  known  to  push  their  stolen 
stones  carefully  into  a  cleft  in  the  stockade. 
When  dismissed,  they  idle  about  on  the  veldt 
outside  the  compound,  and  gradually  scratch 
the  jewels  out.  This  process  is  so  difficult 
and  dangerous  that  the  losses  of  the  Company 
are  few,  considering  the  large  number  of 
miners  employed  by  them.  Notwithstanding 
their  imprisonment  the  natives  seemed  very 
jolly.     Some  of  them  were  fine-looking  men, 

24        ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND    chap,  i 

of  a  higher  type  than  the  multitude.  We 
heard  that  great  chiefs  in  the  interior  sent 
their  "  indunas,"  or  headmen,  sometimes 
their  own  sons,  to  work  in  the  mine  in  order 
that  they  might  steal  diamonds  for  them. 

We  remained  six  months  at  Kimberley, 
and  then  the  work  began  to  tell  on  me.  I 
was  the  night  superintendent,  and  had  to  go 
from  ward  to  ward  in  all  weathers.  I  was 
often  wet  through,  and  of  course  had  to 
remain  wet  until  morning.  The  compound 
was  large  and  unlit.  Here  and  there  were 
large  holes,  which  after  rain  were  filled  with 
water.  Into  these  holes  one  invariably 
stumbled  when  in  a  hurry.  Apart  from  this, 
continuous  night  duty  does  not  suit  all  consti- 

After  consulting  together,  Sister  Lucy  and 
I  agreed  to  go  home  together,  and  looked 
forward  to  enjoying  an  English  summer. 
We  little  dreamt  at  that  time  that  we  were 
destined  to  remain  two  years  longer  in  Africa. 
Instead  of  being  at  the  end,  we  were  scarcely 
at  the  beginning  of  our  African  experiences. 


Leave  Kimberley — Hear  of  Bishop  Knight  Bruce — Offer  to 
go  to  Mashonaland — Tickets  to  England — Miss  the 
train — A  day  outside  Kimberley — Bishop's  telegram — 
Off  to  Cape  Town — Meet  Bishop — Settle  to  join 
Mission — Leave  the  Roslyn  Castle — Mr.  Maund 
— Decide  to  go  via  Pungwe  —  Plans  changed  — 
Stop  at  Durban — Canon  Booth — Indian  Mission — 
Bishop  off  to  Maritzburg — Lodging  hunting — Durban 
and  its  inhabitants — Visit  to  house  of  Jamieson— Mos- 
quitoes— Kaffir  huts — Indian  service — Bishop  returns 
— Leaves  for  Beira  without  us — "Major"  Johnson — 
Dr.  Doyle  Glanville — Off  at  last — Fellow-passengers — 
Inhambane — The  Queen's  health — Beira — Fighting 
up  country — Battle  of  Chua — H.M.S.  Magicienne— 
Johnson  again — Captain  Ewing  to  the  rescue — Oft 
to  Mozambique — Mr.  Grant's  natives — Quilimane — 
Curios — Beira  again. 

In  the  spring  of  1891,  therefore,  Sister  Lucy 
Sleeman  and  I  were  getting  ready  for  our 
homeward  journey,  and  expecting  to  be  back 
in  England  in  a  few  weeks.  At  that  time 
the  Chartered  Company's  expedition  to 
Mashonaland  was  in  everyone's  mouth.     A 

26  ADVENTURES  chap. 

concession  had  been  obtained  from  Loben- 
gula,  the  great  Matabele  chief,  and  pioneers 
and  police  were  in  the  heart  of  the  country. 

Wonderful  reports  came  from  Mashona- 
land  to  the  colony.  We  heard  of  grass  ten 
feet  high,  of  trees  sixty  feet  in  circumference, 
of  mysterious  ruins.  The  whole  country 
was  said  to  be  one  vast  gold-reef.  But  the 
way  from  Cape  Town  to  Mashonaland  was 
long  and  perilous.  Swamps,  which  exhaled 
poisonous  vapours,  had  to  be  traversed. 
Swollen  rivers,  swarming  with  crocodiles,  had 
to  be  crossed.  Boats  and  canoes  were  not 
to  be  procured,  the  men  were  forced  to  swim 
across.  Oxen  fell  sick,  and  died  by  the 
score  on  the  long  trek.  Fever  ravaged  the 

Under  these  circumstances  the  Company 
were  endeavouring  to  make  a  new  and 
shorter  route  to  the  interior.  For  this  pur- 
pose steamers  were  to  run  from  Durban  to 
the  Pungwe — a  large  river  between  Mozam- 
bique and  Delagoa  Bay.  At  the  mouth  of 
it    was    a   small    Portuguese    station    called 


Beira.  It  was  supposed  that  the  Pungwe 
would  be  navigable  for  nearly  one  hundred 
miles,  and  that  a  road  from  thence  to  Fort 
Salisbury,  the  capital  of  Mashonaland,  could 
be  easily  made. 

The  Chartered  Company  had  seized 
Manica,  or  South-East  Mashonaland.  This 
territory  was  claimed  by  Portugal,  but  not 
much  importance  was  attached  to  the  claim. 
M'Tassa,  the  native  king  of  Manica,  had 
given  a  concession  to  the  Chartered  Com- 
pany. Everyone  in  Kimberley  was  either 
going  himself  to  Mashonaland,  via  the 
Pungwe,  or  had  a  friend  or  relation  going 
up ;  and  when  it  became  known  in  the 
Hospital  that  the  Bishop  of  Bloemfontein  had 
given  up  this  diocese  for  that  of  Mashona- 
land, considerable  interest  was  aroused. 

In  a  short  time  we  were  told  that  Dr. 
Knight  Bruce  wished  to  take  nurses  up  to 
his  new  diocese,  where  he  projected  estab- 
lishing several  hospitals.  However,  the 
Mission  the  Bishop  was  organising  was  poor. 
The  hospital  scheme  appeared  likely  to  fall 

28  ADVENTURES  chap. 

through  for  want  of  funds.  It  seemed  a 
pity.  After  some  discussion  with  other 
nurses,  Sister  Lucy  Sleeman  and  I  volun- 
teered to  go  with  Dr.  Knight  Bruce.  A 
third  nurse  offered  to  accompany  us  if  the 
Mission  could  pay  her  £\o  a  year.  This 
was,  considering  the  undertaking,  a  nominal 
salary,  but  circumstances  forbade  her  going 
without  any  remuneration  at  all.  After 
some  delay  the  Bishop's  answer  came.  He 
said  we  were  mistaken  in  supposing  that 
his  hospital  project  had  failed.  He  thanked 
us  for  our  offer,  but  all  his  arrangements 
were  completed.  I  can  honestly  say  I  was 
much  relieved,  and  took  our  passages  to 
England  with  unalloyed  pleasure. 

The  morning  of  our  departure  came,  and 
we  set  off  in  the  highest  spirits. 

But  our  adieus  had  been  too  prolonged. 
As  we  reached  the  station  we  just  caught  a 
glimpse  of  our  train  puffing  out  of  it. 
There  was  not  another  to  be  had  for  twenty- 
four  hours.  Lamentations  were  futile.  We 
left  our  luggage  at  the  station  and  drove  out 


to  a  house,  half  inn,  half  farm,  where  we 
could  lunch  and  while  away  the  time  till 

The  inn  was  not  unpicturesquely  situated 
in  the  midst  of  the  dreary  desert  plain  that  sur- 
rounds Kimberley.  A  few  good-sized  trees 
afforded  shade.  A  small  stream  of  water 
trickled  over  great  granite  boulders,  falling 
with  a  pleasant  splash  into  a  pool.  As  we 
sat  after  luncheon  beside  this  pool,  I  re- 
member saying  that  Africa  was  a  difficult 
place  to  escape  from.  It  was  like  a  huge 
devil-fish.  Once  it  caught  you,  escape  was 
impossible.  For  my  part  I  felt  as  if  we 
should  never  get  away.  My  companions 
laughed  at  the  notion.  They  said  our 
tickets  to  England  were  like  amulets,  and 
would  break  the  evil  spell.  Unless  we  missed 
a  train  every  day  for  a  week  we  could  not 
miss  our  ship.  In  spite  of  these  excellent 
arguments  events  proved  that  I  was  right, 
and  I  cling  to  the  belief  that  for  once  I  had 
a  real  presentiment. 

On  our  way  back  to  our   Kimberley  hotel 

3o  ADVENTURES  chap- 

we  called  at  the  post-office  to  see  if  any 
letters  had  arrived  for  us.  There  fate  over- 
took us  in  the  shape  of  a  telegram  from  the 
Bishop,  asking  us  to  join  him.  I  urged  a 
refusal.  "He  who  will  not  when  he  may, 
when  he  will  he  shall  have  nay,"  seemed  to 
me  the  spirit  in  which  to  answer.  Finally  a 
compromise  was  effected,  and  we  telegraphed 
to  say  we  would  meet  Dr.  Knight  Bruce  at 
Cape  Town,  and  consider  the  possibility  of 
accepting  his  proposals. 

The  Bishop,  in  fact,  appeared  at  Poole's 
Hotel,  Cape  Town,  the  day  after  our  arrival. 
We  found  him  comparatively  young  for  a 
Bishop,  not  much  past  forty,  very  pleasant  and 
persuasive,  and  with  an  exceptional  talent  for 
getting  out  of  a  room  well — a  much  rarer 
gift  this  than  one  might  suppose.  The 
Bishop's  exits  were  always  effective ;  he 
evanesced  rather  than  went,  always  at  the 
right  moment,  and  left  behind  him  a  little 
hush,  in  which  one  would  place  a  note  of 

We  told  him  we  had  heard  that  his  plans 


were  somewhat  indefinite.  On  this  point  he 
reassured  us.  He  said  that  in  the  disturbed 
state  of  Mashonaland  and  Manica,  with  the 
Portuguese  question  coming  to  a  crisis,  a  cut 
and  dried  plan  of  action  was  impossible.  He 
wished  to  go  to  Port  Beira  and  up  the 
Pungwe,  and  thence  by  waggon  to  Salisbury, 
where  fever  was  rife.  He  could  not  feel  sure 
whether  we  should  manage  an  hospital  estab- 
lished by  the  Mission,  or  the  Company's 
hospital ;  he  believed  the  latter.  This  per- 
haps sounded  somewhat  indefinite.  He  had 
engaged  a  first-rate  doctor,  who  was  daily  ex- 
pected ;  he  had  his  builder,  a  man  who  had 
been  with  Livingstone  ;  his  carpenter,  and 
others.  A  clergyman  and  some  other  young 
missionaries  would  take  his  waggon  up  by 
the  long  trek,  from  Cape  Town  or  Natal,  to 
Salisbury.  The  Bishop  had  his  own  medical 
stores ;  the  Company  had  large  stores  already 
up  there.  We  should  require  to  think  of 
nothing  but  a  personal  outfit.  We  told  him 
that  though  we  were  not  at  all  "fine,"  and 
were  quite  ready  to  do  anything  that  might 

32  ADVENTURES  chap. 

want  doing,  as  far  as  we  could,  yet  we  were 
unsuited  physically  for  such  work  as  "dag- 
hering"  huts  or  "smearing  floors" — that  is, 
plastering  walls  with  a  mixture  of  mud,  water, 
straw,  and  cowdung ;  and  smoothing  a  sort 
of  liquid  manure  over  floors,  which  hardens, 
and  can  be  swept  and  kept  clean.  We  had 
heard  at  Kimberley  that  "daghering"  and 
"  smearing  "  would  be  essential  parts  of  our 

Dr.  Knight  Bruce  again  reassured  us  on 
this  point,  saying  there  would  not  be  any  such 
rough  work,  as  it  would  all  be  done  by 
natives.  We  should  have  a  white  cook  and 
orderly,  at  least  for  the  first  year.  He  had 
been  a  ship's  steward,  and  we  should  find  him 
most  useful.  Later  on  we  could  make  other 
arrangements  according  to  circumstances. 
These  points  being  settled,  the  Bishop  asked 
us  to  engage  ourselves  to  the  Mission  for  one 
year ;  but,  after  some  discussion,  in  which  we 
pointed  out  to  him  that  it  would  be  impossible 
to  do  much  towards  establishing  an  hospital 
in  one  year,  it  was  settled  that  we  should  give 


our  services  for  two  years,  and  that  the 
Mission  should  pay  our  passages  back  to 
England  at  the  end  of  that  time. 

The  next  few  days  were  one  continual 
rush  and  hurry  to  get  an  outfit  in  time.  It 
was  of  great  interest  to  us  to  see  our  tent,  a 
charming  marquee,  and  think  of  living  in  it  ; 
and  to  note  all  the  preparations  for  a  real 
campaign  in  the  interior  of  Africa.  By  the 
1 6th  of  April,  1891,  our  purchases  were  made, 
and  we  embarked  in  the  Roslyn  Castle,  en 
route  for  the  Pungwe.  This  river,  as  yet  un- 
explored, and  sometimes  known  as  the  Aruan- 
gua,  was  said  to  be  navigable  for  small 
steamers,  at  least  as  far  as  seventy  miles  from 
its  mouth  at  Beira.  It  was  proposed  to  take  the 
pioneers  this  distance  up  the  river ;  establish 
a  camp  for  the  storing  of  goods  ;  and  convey 
them  by  waggon  and  coaches,  drawn  by  trot- 
ting bullocks,  as  far  as  Salisbury,  a  distance 
of  about  four  hundred  miles.  A  Road  Com- 
pany had  been  formed  for  this  purpose,  the 
road  being  supposed  to  be  already  completed. 

The  Bishop  having  decided  on  going  to 


Port  Elizabeth  by  train  and  joining  us  there, 
we  were  taken  on  board  our  steamer  by  the 
well-known  Mr.  Maund.  This  charming 
traveller  had  already  gone  up  to  Mashona- 
land  by  the  inland  trek,  immediately  after  the 
first  pioneers  had  opened  up  the  country ; 
had  visited  Lobengula,  the  great  Matabele 
King ;  and  had  had  the  honour  of  taking  his 
indunas  to  England,  and  presenting  them  to 
the  Queen.  He  told  us  that  Gordon  Pasha 
had  been  one  of  his  dearest  friends,  and  that 
illness  alone  had  prevented  him  from  making 
his  way  to  Khartoum.  Mr.  Maund  im- 
pressed us  as  being  one  of  those  delightful 
people  who  invariably  secure  the  best  cabins 
in  ships,  and  the  best  boxes  at  the  play,  and 
have  the  best  appliances  in  every  emergency. 
He  gave  us  some  useful  information  about 
modes  of  life  up  country,  predicting  our  safe 
arrival  there  via  the  Pungwe,  in  spite  of  the 
Portuguese  difficulty.  Questioned  as  to  this, 
he  said  it  might  be  briefly  summed  up  as  a 
dispute  between  Portugal  and  the  British 
South  Africa  Company  about  the  possession 


of  Manica,  or  South-East  Mashonaland.  He 
supposed  that  the  Portuguese  had  been  the 
first  to  explore  that  province,  but  they  had 
not  colonised  it,  nor  had  they  any  concessions 
from  the  existing  chiefs.  If  they  had,  Mr. 
Rhodes  would  "  square  it."  We  afterwards 
found  this  to  be  a  sort  of  watchword  in 
Africa.  Whatever  happens,  people  shrug 
their  shoulders  and  say  :  "It  will  be  all  right, 
Rhodes  will  square  it." 

After  a  pleasant  dinner  Mr.  Maund  went 
on  shore,  and  the  Roslyn  steamed  majestic- 
ally out  to  sea.  On  the  18th  of  April  we 
arrived  at  Port  Elizabeth,  one  of  the  most 
uninteresting,  colourless  towns  it  is  possible 
to  imagine,  though  I  believe  the  country 
round  about  is  beautiful,  and  from  some  of 
the  heights  near  the  town  we  caught  exquisite 
glimpses  of  sea  and  distant  hills.  We  had  to 
wait  at  this  wearisome  place  till  Monday 
evening.  The  Bishop  arrived  just  at  dark, 
and  the  bay  was  so  rough  that  there  was 
some  difficulty  about  getting  him  on  board. 
Hardly  was  this  effected  when   the  anchor 


was  raised,  and  we  soon  saw  the  lights  of 
Port  Elizabeth  disappear  in  the  distance. 

Next  day  the  Bishop  told  us  there  was 
really  no  chance  of  our  being  able  to  go 
to  Beira  and  up  the  Pungwe.  Sir  John 
Willoughby  and  some  of  the  Company's 
people  had  been  fired  at  by  the  Portuguese, 
and  were  obliged  to  return  to  Natal.  We 
should  go  by  train  from  Natal  to  Maritzburg, 
and  thence  by  post-cart  and  waggon  to  our 

This  was  disappointing  ;  we  had  looked 
forward  to  travelling  by  an  entirely  new  route, 
and  had  heard  great  things  of  the  Pungwe  as 
a  beautiful  river  on  whose  banks  lions  stood 
and  roared,  but  always  at  a  safe  distance. 
However  there  appeared  to  be  no  help  for  it, 
so  we  resigned  ourselves  to  the  inevitable. 

On  Wednesday  the  22nd  we  reached 
Durban.  The  long  line  of  green,  monotonous 
coast  had  not  prepared  us  for  anything  so 
beautiful.  Indeed  we  were  delighted  with 
Durban.  The  bay  is  dotted  with  islands 
and    picturesque    mangrove   growths,    whilst 


the  wooded  heights  of  Berea  form  a  lovely 
background  to  the  town. 

We  nurses  went  to  the  Royal  Hotel,  where 
all  the  service  is  done  by  Indians,  swathed  in 
muslin  and  bare-footed,  and  giving  a  charm- 
ing suggestion  of  Orientalism.  The  Bishop 
was  put  up  by  Canon  Booth,  doctor  and 
missionary,  one  of  the  most  interesting 
people  it  has  been  my  fortune  to  meet  in 

The  next  day  we  had  to  unpack  every- 
thing, and  repack  in  the  smallest  possible 
compass  for  post-cart  travelling.  We  were 
to  start  for  Maritzburg  at  three  in  the  after- 
noon. At  one  the  Bishop  came  and  said  we 
could  not  leave  till  next  day.  I  told  him  I 
had  a  presentiment  that  we  should  go  by  the 
Pungwe  after  all ;  and,  although  he  said  this 
was  quite  impossible,  still  it  appeared  to  me 
that  very  probably  the  Willoughby  incident 
would  bring  matters  to  a  crisis.  And  as  the 
Portuguese  were  hardly  likely  to  embark  on 
a  war  with  England,  the  result  would  be 
an    understanding    between     England     and 

38  ADVENTURES  chap. 

Portugal,  and  the  route  to  Manica  would  be 
thrown  open. 

As  if  to  justify  my  presentiment,  the 
Bishop  came  to  us  on  the  24th,  and  told  us 
that  our  places  were  taken  in  train  and 
coach,  but  that  he  had  given  up  the  land 
route,  and  was  going  to  make  a  push  for 
the  Pungwe  after  all.  The  reason  of  this 
complete  change  of  front  was  that  he  had 
met  a  man  who  had  just  arrived  from 
Mashonaland,  and  said  that  he  had  left  there 
last  December.  He  had  been  four  months 
on  the  journey,  and  described  the  routes  as  in 
a  terrible  state,  owing  to  the  worst  rainy 
season  that  had  been  known  for  many  years. 
Many  trekkers,  he  said,  had  been  forced  to 
abandon  their  waggons  on  the  banks  of 
impassable  rivers.  So  it  appeared  to  be 
better  to  wait  at  Durban  until  the  Pungwe 
route  was  open. 

A  certain  Johnson  had  obtained  a  contract 
for  transport  from  Beira  to  Mashonaland,  and 
had  formed  a  Road  Company.  There  was 
a    pioneer    camp    on    the    Pungwe    called 


'Mpanda's,  and  from  there  the  Road  Com- 
pany's waggons  were  to  start.  A  road  was 
in  process  of  construction,  and  nearly 
finished.  A  fast  coach  would  also  run  from 
'Mpanda's  to  Salisbury,  by  which  we  could 
reach  the  latter  place  in  ten  days. 

In  spite  of  the  prospect  of  a  tedious  delay 
at  Durban,  we  rejoiced  over  this  plan,  and 
hoped  it  would  prove  more  stable  than  the 
others.  That  same  afternoon,  however,  we 
had  another  visit  from  the  Bishop.  He 
came  to  tell  us  that  he  thought  it  useless  to 
wait,  and  that  we  must  be  ready  to  start  for 
Beira  next  morning  in  the  Venice.  He 
believed  that  by  the  time  we  reached  the 
Pungwe  the  Portuguese  difficulty  would  be 
disposed  of.  We  hastened  to  make  all  the 
needful  arrangements,  and  it  was  a  great 
disappointment  when  the  Bishop  reappeared 
that  same  evening,  and  said  he  thought  it 
would  be  better  to  let  the  Venice  go  without 
us.  She  would  touch  at  several  ports  and 
take  ten  days  to  get  to  Beira.  The  Norse- 
man would  go   in   eight  or  ten  days'  time, 


reaching  Beira  in  four  days.  The  Bishop 
intended  spending  the  interval  at  Maritzburg, 
and  proposed  to  take  us  there  also,  leaving  us 
with  a  sisterhood,  whilst  he  stayed  with  the 
Governor.  By  this  time  we  were  much 
bewildered  by  the  constant  changes  of 
plan,  and  began  to  think  we  should  never 
arrive  anywhere.  We  were,  therefore,  not 
much  surprised  when  the  next  morning  he 
suggested  our  staying  at  Durban,  instead  of 
going  to  Maritzburg  with  him. 

The  hotel  being  very  dear,  Canon  Booth's 
sister  kindly  called  for  us  to  go  lodging 

Our  first  experience  was  a  strange  one. 
We  went  by  tram  to  the  top  of  the  Berea 
heights,  catching  most  exquisite  glimpses 
of  the  town  and  bay.  We  stopped  at  a 
boarding  house  which  was  said  to  be  ex- 
tremely "refined  and  elegant."  The  cream 
of  the  shipping-agency  clerks  would  there 
find  "home  comforts  and  intellectual  con- 
versation "  for  a  moderate  price.  The 
mistress    of    this    abode    received    us    in   a 


tea  gown,  in  the  midst  of  a  confusion  of 
antimacassars,  scent  bottles,  fans,  and  all  sorts 
of  odds  and  ends.  She  allowed  us  to  see  a 
very  dirty  room  next  a  stable,  in  which  a 
coloured  man  was  sleeping,  and  told  us  we 
must  keep  a  light  burning  all  night  on  account 
of  the  swarms  of  rats.  She  thought  we 
could  all  sleep  in  it  ''somehow,"  and  was 
much  shocked  to  find  that,  although  we  were 
"nursing  sisters,"  we  did  not  think  this 
accommodation  sufficient.  But  we  felt  that 
we  should  have  unavoidable  opportunities 
for  mortifying  the  flesh  later  on,  and  that  it 
would,  therefore,  be  useless  to  make  our- 
selves uncomfortable  on  purpose.  So,  saying 
good-bye  to  the  presiding  genius,  we  set  out 
in  search  of  something  cleaner,  if  less  intel- 
lectual ;  and  were  fortunate  enough  to  dis- 
cover a  dear,  simple  Scotchwoman,  by  name 
Miss  Wright,  who  had  a  background  of 
brooms  and  dusters,  instead  of  fans  and  scent 
bottles.  Here  we  established  ourselves 
that  very  evening. 

The  next  day   was   Sunday,    remarkable 

42  ADVENTURES  chap. 

only  for  one  of  the  longest,  weariest,  and 
dullest  sermons  it  has  ever  been  my  fate  to 
endure,  which  we  heard  at  St.  Cyprian's,  the 
most  important  church  in  Durban.  A  walk 
home  by  the  exquisite  moonlight  somewhat 
compensated  for  the  hour  and  a  half  in  the 
hot,  stuffy  church.  The  effect  of  light  and 
shade,  as  we  passed  along  an  avenue  of 
feathery  bamboos  was  indescribable,  a 
thing  to  feel  and  dream  about. 

Our  uniforms  attracted  a  good  deal  of 
attention,  quiet  as  they  were — the  cross 
which  the  Bishop  wished  us  to  wear  making 
them  more  conspicuous  than  they  otherwise 
would  have  been.  The  fact,  too,  that  we 
were  bound  for  Mashonaland  made  us 
objects  of  general  and  very  kindly  interest. 
Everyone  who  had  the  slightest  acquaint- 
ance with  our  hostess  called,  and  requested 
her  to  bring  us  to  call. 

Some  of  these  ladies  had  most  charming 
houses,  built  here  and  there  along  the  Berea 
heights.  We  were  specially  delighted  with 
the  house  of  a  Mrs.  Ballance,  a  fascinating 


old  lady,  still  extremely  handsome,  with  a 
quiet,  dignified  manner — a  refreshing  change 
after  the  somewhat  emphatic  colonial  cor- 
diality. From  the  terrace  of  her  house  we 
looked  down  on  a  waving  mass  of  tree  tops. 
In  the  middle  distance,  sweeping  in  long 
curves  round  the  bay,  the  white  houses  of 
Durban  glittered  in  the  evening  sunlight. 
The  bay  itself  lay  absolutely  still — not  a 
ripple  breaking  its  vivid  blue-green  colour ; 
whilst  the  distant  shipping  out  in  the  open, 
with  here  and  there  a  glint  of  foaming 
breakers,  gave  animation  to  the  scene. 

One's  first  impression  at  Durban  is  that 
one  can  never  leave  it  again,  and  that  life  in 
the  midst  of  its  dreamy  beauty  must  be  ideal. 
But  after  a  few  days  one  realises  that  it  is 
always  the  same  view — a  beautiful  but  mono- 
tonous effect  of  light  and  colour ;  and  one 
longs  for  barren  and  rocky  shores. 

Possibly  the  plague  of  mosquitoes  has 
some  influence  in  breaking  the  spell.  Sister 
Lucy  Sleeman  and  I  appeared  to  be  small- 
pox patients.     We  were  literally  swollen  out 


of  all  resemblance  to  human  beings.  The 
mosquito  curtain  indeed  protected  us  some- 
what at  night,  but  the  insatiable  mosquitoes 
devoured  us  all  day  long.  We  were  told 
that  an  excellent  remedy  was  to  burn  Keat- 
ing's  powder  on  a  shovel.  We  did  so,  but 
only  succeeded  in  giving  ourselves  violent 
headaches,  accompanied  by  vomiting  and 
general  discomfort ;  whilst  the  mosquitoes 
went  to  sleep  for  an  hour  or  two,  and  woke 
up  like  giants  refreshed. 

The  British  South  Africa's  agent  at 
Durban,  Mr.  Jamieson,  asked  us  to  go  to 
his  house  at  Bellair,  about  twenty  minutes 
by  train  from  Durban.  So  we  set  out  one 
morning,  and  arriving  at  the  Bellair  station, 
found  Mrs.  Jamieson  there  to  meet  us.  She 
was  most  kind  and  cordial.  The  house,  sur- 
rounded by  a  lovely  garden,  commanded  fine 
inland  views  of  wooded  hills  and  undulating 
plains.  We  were  glad  to  lose  sight  of  the 
perpetual  sea  view.  The  garden,  which  we 
explored  after  luncheon,  was  rilled  with  every 
sort  of  strange    flowering    shrub    and    tree, 


collected  from  all  parts  of  Africa.  Mrs. 
Jamieson  was  devoted  to  her  garden  ;  each 
plant  seemed  to  be  a  special  friend,  and  to 
receive  special  care,  with  the  happiest  results. 
A  hedge  of  martinguelas — at  that  time  partly 
covered  with  fruit  and  partly  with  its  white 
starlike  blossoms,  which  exhale  a  strong 
perfume,  something  like  that  of  a  gardenia 
— shut  off  the  garden  from  some  Kaffir  huts, 
built  exactly  like  the  native  hut,  untouched 
by  civilisation.  We  crept  into  one  of  them, 
and  examined  its  beehive  shape  and  smooth, 
hard,  earthen  floor  with  much  interest,  as 
huts  like  these  would  probably  be  our  home 
for  the  next  year  at  least.  On  the  whole  we 
concluded  that  it  was  odd,  but  not  half  bad, 
and  that  it  would  be  possible  to  make  a 
patient  tolerably  comfortable  in  such  a  sur- 
rounding. We  did  not  return  to  Durban  till 
late  that  evening. 

On  Saturday,  the  2nd  of  May,  the  Bishop 
returned  to  Durban,  and  preached  at  St. 
Cyprian's  on  the  following  Sunday.  In  the 
afternoon  we  all  went  down  to  St.  Aiden's, 


the  church  of  the  Indian  Mission.  Few 
things  at  Durban  are  more  interesting  than 
this  Mission.  Canon  Booth,  who  is  its 
founder,  was  at  one  time  a  doctor  practis- 
ing in  India.  Taking  orders,  and  settling  at 
Durban,  he  has  devoted  his  life,  energies, 
and  fortune  to  the  services  of  the  Indians  of 
Durban.  A  large  room — half  study,  half 
surgery — is  attached  to  the  group  of  church 
and  schools,  and  here  the  Canon  looks  after 
the  physical  well-being  of  his  flock.  The 
service  was  conducted  in  an  Indian  dialect, 
and  a  very  intelligent-looking  Indian  deacon 

The  language  did  not  strike  us  as  being 
harmonious,  but  the  gestures  of  the  preacher 
were  so  graphic,  and  his  features  so  animated, 
that  it  was  really  possible  to  get  at  the  drift 
of  his  sermon.  The  singing  was  monoton- 
ous and  barbaric  beyond  expectation.  Poor 
as  the  church  was,  its  very  poverty  appealed 
to  one's  imagination  more  than  do  many 
more  splendid  churches.  The  Indian  women, 
delightfully  draped  in  many  coloured  stuffs, 


looked  like  so  many  Old  Testament  illustra- 
tions, and  suggested  a  shadowy  background 
of  palm-tree,  desert,  and  camel. 

After  service  we  had  a  sort  of  picnic  tea 
in  the  surgery.  The  Canon  outside  his  work 
is  as  full  of  fun  as  a  boy,  as,  indeed,  most 
"  all  round "  men  are,  and  we  amused  our- 
selves very  well,  till  the  fading  light  reminded 
us  that  it  was  time  to  get  back  home. 

We  had  a  long  talk  with  the  Bishop  next 
day.  It  was  settled  that  we  were  to  go  with 
him  by  the  Norseman  on  the  6th  of  May. 
He  looked  very  fit,  and  was  in  excellent 
spirits,  having  enjoyed  himself  much  at 
Maritzburg.  Of  course  we  rejoiced  greatly 
at  the  near  prospect  of  leaving.  We  ex- 
pected to  reach  Beira  in  three  or  four  days, 
and  to  find  the  waggons  and  coaches  of 
Johnsons  Road  Company  at  'Mpanda's, 
seventy  miles  up  the  river.  Our  hostess  on 
the  Berea  declared  herself  very  sorry  to  lose 
us.  She,  however,  entered  into  the  spirit  of 
our  venture,  and  procured  us  lessons  in 
bread-making.     Sister   B.  Welby,   who  was 

48  ADVENTURES  chap. 

with  us,  and  who  knew  something  of  baking 
in  the  ordinary  way,  went  to  some  people 
who  were  accustomed  to  trek  over  the  veldt, 
and  was  initiated  in  the  mysteries  of  bread- 
making  in  an  iron  pot,  over  an  open-air  fire. 
Unfortunately  her  experience  was  not  of  much 
use  to  us.  She  left  us  a  few  months  after, 
as  will  appear  later  on. 

The  long  waited  for  Wednesday  dawned 
at  last,  but,  alas !  the  Norseman  was  not 
ready.  She  would  sail  the  next  day.  It 
seemed  to  our  impatient  fancy  that  these 
delays  would  never  end.  To  occupy  our- 
selves we  went  to  see  the  Durban  Hospital. 
We  were  much  shocked  by  its  dirty,  dis- 
orderly wards.  Dirty  dressings  were  lying 
about,  clothes  lay  on  the  floor  near  the  beds, 
the  nurses  were  invisible,  and  an  atmosphere 
of  complicated  unpleasantness  seemed  to 
pervade  the  whole  place.  No  doubt  all  this 
has  long  since  been  reformed.  We  heard 
that  there  had  been  many  complaints  about 
the  hospital,  and  no  wonder.  No  one  in- 
terested in  hospital  work  could  see  such  a 


place  without  a  feeling  of  intense  depression. 
But  I  write  of  over  two  years  ago,  and  since 
then  I  hear  that  Lady  Mitchell's  trained 
nurses  have  given  nursing  in  Natal  an  im- 
petus in  the  right  direction. 

Thursday,  the  7th  of  May,  was  a  sadly 
eventful  day.  We  were  up  betimes,  and 
sent  our  luggage  down  to  the  boat.  We 
were  to  follow  towards  midday.  But  at  half- 
past  nine  in  the  morning  we  received  a 
hurried  summons  from  the  Bishop,  requesting 
us  to  join  him  as  soon  as  possible  at  the 
Royal  Hotel,  where  we  should  meet  Mr. 
Johnson,  the  manager  of  the  Road  Company. 

Full  of  unpleasant  presentiments,  Sister 
Lucy  Sleeman  and  I  hurried  to  the  hotel, 
the  third  sister  declaring  herself  unequal  to 
the  interview.  Arrived  at  the  hotel,  we 
found  the  Bishop  alone,  and  seemingly  much 
disturbed.  He  said  he  feared  we  could  not 
go  with  him,  that  he  must  go  alone,  and  that 
we  should  be  able  to  follow  in  about  a 
month ! 

I  cannot  describe  the  despair  we  felt  at 

50  ADVENTURES  chap. 

this  announcement.  We  must  have  shown 
very  great  discouragement,  for  the  Bishop 
begged  us  not  to  allow  our  very  natural  dis- 
appointment to  damp  our  zeal  for  the  work. 
He  said  he  had  discussed  the  matter 
exhaustively  with  Mr.  Johnson,  and  we 
should  see  this  person  ourselves,  and  hear 
all  he  had  to  say. 

Mr.  or  "  Major  "  Johnson,  as  he  elected 
to  call  himself,  then  appeared.  He  was  a 
dark,  somewhat  stout  man  ;  seemingly  good- 
natured  ;  and  with  a  rather  noisy,  jovial 
manner,  which  probably  does  him  good 
service  in  the  many  unpleasant  emergencies 
which  a  habit  of  romancing  on  all  occasions 
necessarily  create  in  the  long-run, — withal,  I 
believe,  a  staunch  friend  and  a  man  of  ex- 
ceeding energy. 

He  made  the  following  statement,  which 
proved  to  be  so  entirely  without  foundation, 
that  if  it  had  not  been  written  in  my  Diary 
within  an  hour  of  its  having  been  made, 
I  should  feel  it  impossible  to  believe  that 
I  had  heard  it : — 


"  The  officer  in  charge  of  the  road-making 
department  in  Mashonaland,"  he  said,  "has 
indeed  made  his  road,  but,  unfortunately,  he 
has  directed  his  road  to  a  river  seventy  miles 
south  of  the  Pungwe,  instead  of  taking  it  to 
the  Pungwe  as  directed.  This  river  is  called 
the  Sabe.  It  has  therefore  been  necessary 
to  cut  a  road  through  one  hundred  miles  of 
bush,  in  order  to  unite  the  Pungwe  to  the 
existing  road,  the  additional  twenty  miles 
being  caused  by  the  swamps,  which  it  is 
needful  to  avoid."  Major  Johnson  then  pro- 
ceeded to  say  that  if  we  went  up  with  the 
Norseman  we  should  have  to  spend  ten  days 
on  the  Pungwe  in  an  open  lighter,  crowded 
with  white  men  and  with  natives,  who  were 
to  be  engaged  in  road -making.  He  said 
there  was  really  no  accommodation  for 
women,  and  that  the  swampy  nature  of  the 
banks  of  the  Pungwe  would  make  it  impos- 
sible for  us  to  have  our  tent  pitched  and  live 
on  shore. 

Of  course,  disappointed  as  we  were,  it  was 
impossible  not  to  see  that  if  we  insisted  on 


going  with  the  Norseman,  we  should  not  only 
be  useless,  but  a  trouble  and  hindrance,  and 
should  find  ourselves  in  an  altogether  impos- 
sible position.  So,  having  to  yield,  we  did  it 
with  the  best  grace  we  could  muster.  Major 
Johnson  and  the  Bishop  hoped  that  we  might 
perhaps  be  able  to  get  away  on  the  16th  of 
May.  They  assured  us  that  when  we  got  to 
Beira  we  should  find  a  small  steamer,  the 
Agnes,  ready  to  take  us  up  to  the  pioneer 
camp,  where  the  waggons  would  be  in  readi- 
ness, and  a  considerable  portion  of  the  road 
finished.  The  Bishop's  doctor — Dr.  Doyle 
Glanville — who  was  daily  expected,  would 
travel  with  us. 

Dr.  Knight  Bruce  seemed  somewhat  de- 
pressed by  the  continual  obstacles  which 
cropped  up  unceasingly.  He  said  he  counted 
on  our  "  cheery  courage,"  and  of  course  we 
were  very  anxious  to  make  as  few  difficulties 
as  possible.  Still  the  prospect  of  being 
left  behind,  we  three  women,  to  make  our 
way  into  the  interior  with  an  entirely  un- 
known man,  could   not  fail  to  make  us  feel 


anxious  and  troubled.  By  way  of  raising  our 
spirits,  too,  Major  Johnson  told  us  that  the 
whole  country  was  in  a  state  of  convulsion ; 
that  "rebel"  Portuguese  troops  defied  the 
control  of  the  Governor  of  Mozambique,  and 
persisted  in  attacking  the  English  ;  and  that 
fighting  was  expected  beyond  Masse- Kesse. 
In  point  of  fact,  the  Portuguese  troops  were 
not  at  all  mutinous;  no  news  of  a  modus 
vivendi  had  penetrated  into  the  interior,  and 
Portuguese  and  English  were  preparing  to 
fight  in  earnest.  It  is  not  altogether  surprising 
that,  as  we  saw  the  Norseman  steam  away,  we 
felt  very  forlorn  indeed,  and  I  think  a  few 
futile  tears  were  shed. 

Day  after  day  slipped  by  in  monotonous 
succession.  From  time  to  time  rumours  of 
fighting  up  country  reached  us,  and  on  all 
sides  we  were  assailed  by  entreaties  to  return 
home,  and  give  up  an  attempt  which  would 
prove  fruitless.  In  the  shops  the  people  who 
served  us  with  a  biscuit  or  a  yard  of  ribbon 
would  ask  if  we  really  meant  to  go  to 
Mashonaland,  and  advise  us  not  to  do  so. 


Often  we  were  stopped  by  women,  who  would 
say  with  tears,  "  Sister,  my  son  (or  brother) 
is  up  in  Mashonaland — take  care  of  him  if 
you  meet  him."  An  old  man  in  a  tram-car 
was  so  pathetic  over  our  future  fate,  that 
Sister  Lucy  was  beginning  to  be  quite  touched, 
when  our  friend  suddenly  lurched  forwards 
and  fell  under  the  seat.  We  then  discovered 
that  he  was  extremely  tipsy,  and  were  very 
much  ashamed  of  having  listened  to  him. 
One  evening,  as  all  three  of  us  were  taking 
a  constitutional  outside  Durban,  some  old 
people,  who  were  driving  a  sort  of  gig,  stopped 
and  asked  us  if  we  were  really  off  to  Mashona- 
land. They  seemed  to  think  we  were  start- 
ing then  and  there  —  walking  off  without 
escort  or  luggage  !  We  reassured  them  with 
some  difficulty,  and  explained  that,  when  we 
did  leave,  it  would  be  very  comfortably  in  a 

On  the  15th  of  May  Dr.  Doyle  Glanville 
appeared.  He  was  a  tall,  soldierly-looking 
man,  past  his  prime,  with  a  very  important 
manner,  but  seemingly  not  a  bad  fellow  au 


fond.  To  our  great  consternation  he  said 
that  he  knew  nothing  of  any  settled  plan  of 
the  Bishop's ;  that  he  was  bound  to  the 
Union  Steamship  Company,  being  a  doctor 
on  board  one  of  their  steamers ;  and  that  it 
would  be  quite  three  weeks  before  he  could 
start  up  country.  He  thought  we  must 
decide  for  ourselves  whether  we  would  wait 
for  him,  or  go  on  and  try  to  catch  the  Bishop 
at  'Mpanda's.  For  himself,  he  had  to  hurry 
back  to  his  ship. 

This  left  us  in  a  state  of  trouble  and  per- 
plexity easily  to  be  imagined.  The  next  day 
we  received  a  letter  from  the  Bishop  from 
Beira,  telling  us  that  he  expected  us  by  the 
next  steamer.  We  heard  on  all  sides  that  it 
was  more  than  probable  we  should  reach 
'Mpanda's  before  the  Bishop  could  leave,  as 
it  was  said  that  the  troubles  in  Manica  were 
taking  very  serious  proportions,  and  that  the 
road-making  party  had  been  forced  to  leave 
off  work,  and  return  to  'Mpanda's.  Still  it 
was  rather  an  important  step  to  take,  and  we 
resolved    to   consult    Colonel   W ;    Mr. 


Watts,  the  Union  Company's  agent ;  Mr. 
Jamieson,  the  agent  both  of  the  Chartered 
Company  and  of  the  Bishop  ;  and  others. 
All  of  them  advised  us  not  to  wait  for  the 
Doctor,  but  to  make  a  push  for  'Mpanda's. 
One  of  the  Bishop's  people,  a  boy  called 
Wilson,  had  remained  behind  with  us,  and 
would,  we  thought,  be  a  sufficient  protec- 
tion. He  was  a  youth  from  the  east  end  of 
London,  exceedingly  sharp  and  useful,  able 
to  put  his  hand  to  most  things,  but  appar- 
ently not  very  strong.  He,  too,  was  con- 
sulted, and  elected  to  go  with  us. 

On  Wednesday,  the  28th  of  May,  we  said 
good-bye  to  our  kind  hostess,  turned  our 
backs  on  Durban,  and  steamed  forth  into 
the  unknown  on  board  the  coasting  steamer 
Tyrian  commanded  by  Captain  Morton.  The 
vessel  was  crowded  with  men  —  Pungwe 
pioneers — some  going  up  as  traders,  all  more 
or  less  as  prospectors.  They  were  full  of 
hope  and  enthusiasm  about  the  new  country  ; 
nothing  was  heard  in  the  ship  but  a  per- 
petual talk  of  "booms,"  " reefs,"  " alluvial," 


and  of  all  the  chances  there  appeared  to  be 
of  making  a  rapid  fortune. 

Amongst  our  fellow-passengers  was  Mr. 
Grant,  son  of  the  famous  explorer,  on  his 
way  to  Mozambique,  where  he  intended  to 
engage  a  number  of  carriers,  to  take  up  the 
Zambesi  to  the  Lake  Country  and  beyond 
into  the  interior.  He  was  a  very  pleasant 
young  fellow,  who  had  already  done  a  good 
deal  of  exploring  work,  and  with  whom  it 
was  very  interesting  to  talk. 

Mr.  Walter  Sutton,  the  ill-fated  son  of 
the  archdeacon  of  that  name,  was  with  us 
too,  the  picture  of  health.  He  has  since 
disappeared  on  the  veldt  up  country,  and 
there  is  little  or  no  hope  of  his  ever  being 
seen  again.  Many  another  of  our  fellow- 
passengers  has  since  joined  that  ever  in- 
creasing majority.  The  greater  number  of 
the  others  we  were  to  meet  again  under  very 
different  circumstances. 

Captain  Morton  told  us  that  he  did  not 
see  how  Dr.  Doyle  Glanville  could  possibly 
follow  us  till  nearly  the  end  of  June,  so  it 

58  ADVENTURES  chap. 

really  seemed  as  if  we  had  been  well  advised 
in  not  waiting  for  him. 

Passing  dismal,  fever  -  stricken  Delagoa 
Bay  and  Lorenzo  Marques,  we  reached  In- 
hambane  on  Saturday,  the  23rd.  We  could 
not  land  that  evening,  but  spent  it  on  deck 
watching  a  total  eclipse  of  the  moon,  and 
admiring  our  surroundings.  The  town  or 
rather  village  of  Inhambane  was  of  con- 
siderable importance  in  the  palmy  days  of 
the  slave  trade.  A  large,  stone  slave  market 
looked  quite  important  from  the  sea,  but  on 
closer  inspection  proved  to  be  falling  into 
ruin.  There  were  large  stone  houses  also, 
quite  out  of  keeping  with  the  present  pro- 
portions of  the  place.  Here  for  the  first 
time  we  made  acquaintance  with  the  beautiful 
feathery  cocoa-nut  palm,  groves  of  which 
fringe  the  bay,  and  cover  the  many  islands 
reflected  in  its  clear  still  waters. 

The  following  day  we  went  on  shore, 
and  were  almost  instantaneously  mobbed  by 
natives.  Apparently  these  had  never  seen 
European  women   before,  for  they  followed 


us,  to  the  number  of  forty  or  fifty,  wherever 
we  went,  evidently  criticising  freely — and, 
probably,  not  always  favourably. 

Those  houses  which  were  inhabited  were 
chiefly  of  the  wattle  and  daub  order,  spot- 
lessly clean,  and  built  in  the  midst  of  large 
shady  compounds.  In  spite  of  the  heat  we 
strolled  beyond  the  village,  through  groves 
of  cocoa-nut  trees,  and,  coming  to  a  small 
native  hut,  asked  Mr.  Grant  to  send  a  boy 
up  one  of  the  palms  to  bring  us  some  nuts. 
This  he  did.  The  boy  forthwith  picked  up 
a  hatchet,  and,  cutting  little  holes  in  the  tree 
as  he  climbed,  inserted  one  big  toe  after 
another  into  the  holes,  and  was  soon  at  the 
top  of  this  improvised  staircase,  squatting 
comfortably  among  the  nuts  and  branches, 
or  rather  branching  leaves.  He  threw  down 
some  fine  nuts,  which  his  father  opened  for 
us.  It  being  the  24th  of  May,  we  drank 
the  Queen's  health  in  cocoa-nut  milk.  Our 
attendant  crowd  of  natives  had  never  left 
us,  and  solemnly  watched  us  imbibing  the 
milk,   but   Sister    Lucy,   who  didn't  like    it, 

60  ADVENTURES  chap. 

made  a  grimace  at  them,  upon  which  they 
shrieked  with  joy,  throwing  themselves  on 
the  ground,  and  rolling  about  in  an  ecstasy 
of  enjoyment.  As  we  walked  back  to  the 
ship  we  met  other  natives,  who  were  in- 
formed of  the  great  joke,  and  they  in  their 
turn  attached  themselves  to  us.  At  last, 
however,  the  noise  became  so  intolerable,  to 
say  nothing  of  the  heat  and  smell,  that  the 
white  men  were  obliged  to  threaten  our 
bodyguard  with  their  sticks,  whereupon  the 
whole  crowd  fled,  making  for  the  beach, 
where  they  awaited  our  advent,  and  gave 
us  a  last  yell  as  we  rowed  back  to  the 

On  Tuesday,  the  26th  of  May,  we  reached 
the  much-talked  of  Port  Beira.  There  was 
considerable  difficulty  in  getting  into  the 
harbour  owing  to  shoals  and  sand-banks,  and 
to  this  day,  in  spite  of  buoys  and  charts, 
ships  continually  go  aground.  Captain 
Morton,  however,  was  both  skilful  and 
lucky ;  and  though  he  had  never  before 
entered   this   harbour    he   did   not   make   a 


single  mistake,  and  we  anchored  safely  oppo- 
site the  "  town." 

This  said  town  of  Beira  may  be  described 
as  a  long  flat  reach  of  sand,  over  which  a 
few  tents  were  scattered.  There  were  also 
two  iron  shanties,  and  that  was  all.  The 
place  looked,  even  from  afar,  the  picture  of 

The  harbour,  on  the  contrary,  was  ex- 
tremely animated.  As  we  cast  anchor, 
H.M.S.  Brisk  steamed  out  to  sea,  H.M.S. 
Magicienne  and  the  gunboat  Pigeon  being 
anchored  not  far  from  us.  One  or  two 
beautiful  little  Portuguese  gunboats  lay  at 
a  little  distance  ;  boats  flitted  from  ship  to 
ship.  Presently  Captain  Pipon  of  the  Magi- 
cienne, Acting- Consul  at  Beira,  came  on 
board  the  Tyrian.  Captain  Morton  intro- 
duced him  to  us,  and  we  found  him  very 
cordial  and  kind.  The  news  he  gave  us 
was  bad.  He  said  that  the  Chartered  Com- 
pany's people  and  the  Portuguese  had  fought 
at  Masse-Kesse,  the  latter  being  driven  from 
the  fort,  which  was  occupied  by  the  English. 


It  was  rumoured  that  troops  of  disbanded 
Portuguese  soldiers  were  roaming  about  the 
country,  revenging  themselves  on  all  English- 
speaking  folk  whom  they  might  come  across. 
Colonel  Machado,  Governor  -  General  of 
Mozambique,  had  therefore  declared  the 
route  to  Fort  Salisbury  to  be  closed,  since 
he  could  not  be  responsible  for  the  safety  of 
anyone  attempting  to  pass  through  Portu- 
guese territory ;  and  Captain  Pipon  had 
come  to  request  Captain  Morton  to  put  up 
a  notice  informing  his  passengers  that  who- 
ever attempted  to  go  up  the  Pungwe  did  it 
at  his  own  risk  and  peril,  and  must  not  expect 
British  protection  if  he  got  into  trouble. 

Afterwards  we  discovered  that  all  these 
rumours  had  reached  Beira  in  a  very  garbled 
condition.  It  was  indeed  true  that  there  had 
been  fighting  at  Masse- Kesse.  Captain 
Heyman,  of  the  Chartered  Company's  Police, 
having  been  ordered  by  the  Portuguese 
commandante  at  Masse  -  Kesse  to  leave 
Manica,  or  he  would  be  driven  out,  promptly 
marched  from  Umtali  to  Masse-Kesse  with 


forty-five  men  and  a  seven-pounder,  took  up 
a  good  position  near  that  fort,  and  by  dint  of 
sending  up  rockets  and  making  signals,  im- 
pressed the  enemy  with  the  idea  that  he  was 
only  reconnoitring  for  a  large  force.  This 
force,  of  course,  was  absolutely  mythical,  he 
being  hundreds  of  miles  from  any  possible 
help.  By-and-by  provisions  ran  short  with 
the  gallant  forty-five.  Spies  informed  them 
that  there  were  at  least  five  hundred  men  in 
Masse-Kesse,  and  a  large  supply  of  "  thunder 
and  lightning,"  as  natives  call  artillery. 
Action  of  some  kind  was  imperative.  As 
Captain  Heyman  was  debating  the  possi- 
bility of  an  attack  by  surprise,  the  enemy, 
much  to  his  gratification,  marched  out  of 
the  fort  and  proceeded  to  attack  him. 

The  Portuguese  troops  were  nearly  all 
coloured  men,  either  natives  or  half-caste. 
They  did  not  fight  well,  and  after  one  or  two 
futile  attempts  to  storm  the  English  camp, 
they  all  ran  away.  No  artillery  was  used  by 
the  storming  party.  Twice  the  European 
Portuguese  officers,   who  are   said    to  have 

64  ADVENTURES  chap. 

behaved  splendidly,  tried  to  rally  their  men, 
beating  them  with  the  flats  of  their  swords ; 
but,  finding  it  futile,  they  all  three  walked 
slowly  away  at  a  more  than  funeral  pace.  Two 
or  three  volleys  were  fired  at  them,  bullets 
ploughing  up  the  earth  round  them.  It  was 
found  afterwards  that  one,  I  think  Monsieur 
de  Bettincourt,  was  wounded  in  the  neck 
rather  badly,  and  another  in  the  arm.  They 
made  no  sign,  however,  until,  just  as  a 
rising  ground  was  about  to  hide  them  from 
view,  they  turned,  took  off  their  hats  to  the 
English,  and  strolled  slowly  back  to  the  fort. 
Convinced  that  a  large  force  must  be  behind 
Captain  Heyman,  Masse-Kesse  surrendered. 
The  Company's  people  found  stores  of  food 
and  medicine,  and  I  believe  artillery,  to  the 
value  of  ten  or  twelve  thousand  pounds. 
Captain  Heyman  says  that  if  the  commander 
had  been  equal  to  his  position  and  resources, 
not  an  Englishman  ought  to  have  left  Manica 
to  tell  the  tale.  Of  course  Captain  Heyman, 
by  his  pluck  and  readiness  of  resource,  really 
secured   Manica  to  the  Company.     This   is 


in  substance  what  occurred  at  the  "  Battle  of 
Chua,"  as  it  is  called.  It  took  place  on  the 
1  ith  of  May,  1891.  It  is  needless  to  say  that 
the  anniversary  is  always  kept  in  Manica  with 
much  feasting  and  many  speeches.  I  tell 
the  tale,  as  it  was  told  to  me  by  the  "  heroes 
of  Masse-Kesse  "  and  others,  with  but  little 
variation,  though  as  I  did  not  reach  Umtali 
till  two  months  later,  I  may  possibly  be 
wrong  in  some  of  the  details.  Everyone 
knows  how  difficult  it  is  to  repeat  with  abso- 
lute correctness. 

To  return  to  Beira.  We  had  expected  to 
find  a  small  steamer  called  the  Agnes  to  take 
us  up  the  Pungwe.  We  were  quite  resolved 
to  go  as  far  as  'M  panda's,  where,  as  the  route 
was  closed,  the  Bishop  was  in  all  probability 
to  be  found.  He  was  said  to  have  bought 
a  piece  of  ground  at  a  little  distance  from  the 
pioneer  camp,  and  to  have  pitched  his  tents 
on  it.  We  heard  in  the  evening  that  the 
Agnes  would  probably  appear  next  day. 

The  next  day  arrived,  but  no  Agnes 
was  to  be  seen.      Captain   Pipon   asked  us 



to  lunch  on  board  the  Magicienne.  We 
went,  and  enjoyed  ourselves  very  much. 
He  took  great  trouble  to  show  us  every- 
thing of  interest  in  the  ship,  and  explained 
the  torpedo  arrangements  so  wonderfully, 
that,  for  the  space  of  a  flash  of  lightning,  I 
knew  how  to  handle  torpedoes  ;  what  use  to 
make  of  them ;  how  to  manage  a  ship  ;  and 
a  great  many  astonishing  things  which  now 
are  hazy  as  a  dream. 

The  Magicienne  struck  us  as  being  a 
beautiful,  but  perhaps  not  very  comfortable, 
ship.  The  engine-rooms  took  up  an  im- 
mense space,  and  the  accommodation  of  the 
crew  seemed  to  be  of  little  importance. 
Electric  bells,  springs,  lights,  and  appliances 
abounded  on  board ;  every  shelf  and  cup- 
board did  something  offensive  or  defensive, 
if  required.  The  kitchens  seemed  to  be  as 
perfect  as  the  engine-rooms.  An  excellent 
luncheon  was  sent  out  of  them,  and  altogether 
we  found  Captain  Pipon  capital  company. 

A  rumour  now  reached  us  that  the  Bishop 
had  left  'Mpanda's  with  a  Portuguese  called 


Captain  da  Silva,  and  four  natives.  This 
made  us  still  more  anxious  to  get  on,  and  we 
hoped  the  Agnes  would  arrive  on  Friday  at 
latest.  We  heard  that  she  was  aground  on 
a  sand-bank  in  the  Pungwe,  and  that  this 
was  the  cause  of  the  delay.  We  had  three 
cases  of  fever  on  board,  but  none  of  them 
were  serious. 

Meanwhile  the  pioneers  on  board  the 
Tyrian  became  very  impatient  indeed.  The 
next  morning  they  all  came  on  deck  in  true 
stage  freebooter  costume  —  rifles,  knives, 
long  boots,  truculent-looking  hats,  cartridge 
belts,  nothing  was  wanting.  They  announced 
their  intention  of  capturing  Beira  forthwith, 
and  set  off  to  interview  Captain  Pipon  on 
the  subject.  What  happened — whether  they 
saw  him,  and  if  so  what  he  said — I  never 
heard,  or  do  not  remember.  I  know,  how- 
ever, that  Beira  was  not  captured,  and  I 
think  it  was  a  great  pity.  It  is  now  becoming 
quite  an  important  place.  Two-thirds  of  the 
inhabitants  are  English,  and  I  do  not  think 
that  Portuguese  rule  suits  them,  or  tends  to 

68  ADVENTURES  chap. 

develope  the  resources  of  the  place,  which  is 
really  forced  along,  in  spite  of  obstacles,  by 
the  English  element. 

The  capture  of  Beira  having  fallen  through, 
more  peaceful  plans  prevailed,  and  we  went 
to  a  concert  on  board  the  Pigeon,  where  we 
spent  a  very  pleasant  evening.  Scarcely  had 
we  got  back  to  the  Tyrian,  when  a  storm 
broke  out ;  the  harbour  became  so  rough  that 
the  decks  of  the  Pigeon  were  completely 
under  water  ;  and  if  we  had  been  ten  minutes 
longer  aboard  of  her,  we  should  have  been 
unable  to  leave  at  all  till  next  day.  We 
expected  to  make  the  acquaintance  of  Mr. 
Jerram,  acting  captain  of  the  Pigeon  later 
on,  as  he  was  for  the  moment  Vice -Consul 
at  'Mpanda's.  Captain  Winslow  of  the  Brisk 
was  also  up  country. 

Neither  Friday  nor  Saturday  brought  the 
Agnes  or  any  news  of  her.  The  weather 
was  so  rough  and  cold  that  we  could  not  go 
on  board  the  Magicienne,  where  a  concert 
had  been  got  up  to  amuse  us.  It  was  indeed 
weary  waiting.       Beira  was  dirty,   and,  the 


anti-English  feeling  being  naturally  so  strong, 
Captain  Pipon  requested  us  not  to  go  on 

However,  the  Agnes  really  did  appear  on 
Sunday  morning,  with  Major  Johnson  on 
board  her,  and  a  few  minutes  after  she  had 
cast  anchor  he  was  rowed  over  to  the 
Tyrian.  Our  first  inquiries  were  for  the 
Bishop,  and  we  were  indeed  sorry  to  hear 
the  news  of  his  departure  from  'Mpanda's 
confirmed.  Major  Johnson  said  that  the 
Bishop  and  da  Silva  had  lost  their  way,  and ; 
after  walking  about  thirty  miles,  before  they 
discovered  that  they  were  going  towards  the 
coast  instead  of  towards  the  interior ;  had 
both  returned  to  'Mpanda's.  As  the  Bishop 
is  an  experienced  traveller  and  sportsman, 
we  concluded  that  this  must  have  been  da 
Silva's  fault,  as  it  in  fact  proved  to  have 
been.  He  professed  to  know  the  country, 
and  undertook  to  guide  the  party,  happily 
with  no  more  disastrous  result  than  a  waste 
of  about  two  days'  time  on  a  useless  and 
tiring  march.     On  their  return  to  'Mpanda's, 

70  ADVENTURES  chap. 

da  Silva  objected  to  go  any  farther,  and  the 
Bishop  was  said  to  have  pushed  on  ahead 
with  only  one  boy,  other  bearers  having 
refused  to  go.  There  was  said  to  be  con- 
siderable difficulty  about  obtaining  native 
labour,  the  natives  waiting  to  see  which  were 
to  gain  the  day,  English  or  Portuguese,  and 
fearing  to  compromise  themselves  with  either 
party.  After  a  good  deal  of  talk,  Major 
Johnson  told  us  that  we  could  not  possibly 
go  to  'Mpanda's  at  that  time.  He  did  not 
see  how  he  was  to  get  us  up  the  Pungwe. 
The  Agnes  would  have  to  take  the  pioneers, 
and  would  be  crowded  with  men  ;  it  would 
be  impossible  for  three  women  to  go  up  with 
that  crush.  Also  the  Agnes  would  take  two 
days  going  up,  if  she  were  lucky  and  did 
not  run  aground,  in  which  case  she  might 
be  a  week. 

Captain  Morton  and  Johnson  advised  us 
to  go  with  the  Tyrian  to  Mozambique  ; 
with  the  understanding  that,  on  her  return 
to  Beira,  we  should  have  the  Agnes  to  our- 
selves, and  go  up  the  river  in  her.     Feeling 

ii  IN  MA  SHONA LAND  -J\ 

that  we  could  not  trust  to  these  promises — 
so  often  made  and  always  broken — we  were 
about  to  decide  that  we  would  be  landed  at 
Beira,  and  make  our  way  up  for  ourselves, 
even  if  that  course  involved  going  in  native 
"  dug-outs,"  when  a  new  adviser  appeared 
on  the  scene. 

This  was  Captain  Ewing,  owner  of  a  little 
Thames  launch  called  the  Shark.  In  appear- 
ance somewhat  like  the  pictures  of  Don 
Quixote,  he  was  a  man  who  had  been  almost 
everywhere,  had  done  almost  everything,  and 
was  universally  liked.  What  was  more  to 
the  point,  he  was  said  to  be  strictly  a  man  of 
his  word.      He  is  now  Port  Captain  at  Beira. 

Captain  Ewing  advised  us  to  go  on  to 
Mozambique,  saying  that  the  'Mpanda-Salis- 
bury  road  had  not  progressed  at  all,  owing 
to  the-  Portuguese  troubles,  and  that  the 
road- making  parties  had  been  obliged  to 
return,  and  were  forbidden  by  the  Portu- 
guese commandante  on  the  Pungwe  to  leave 
the  pioneer  camp.  The  Bishop  alone  had 
been    allowed    to    proceed    on    his    journey. 

72  ADVENTURES  chap. 

We  should  gain  nothing  by  going  to 
'Mpanda's,  but  should  be  only  shut  up 
there  for  at  least  a  month.  So  he  strongly 
urged  our  remaining  with  the  Tyrian,  and 
gave  his  word  of  honour  that,  if  the  Agnes 
failed  us  on  our  return  to  Beira,  he  would 
himself  take  us  to  'Mpanda's  in  his  Shark. 
It  was  very  bitter  to  us  to  have  come  so  far, 
and  to  have  actually  reached  Beira  only  to 
meet  with  another  long  delay.  But,  though 
quite  determined  to  fulfil  our  promise  to  the 
Bishop,  and  get  to  Mashonaland  by  hook  or 
by  crook,  we  were  particularly  anxious  to  do 
nothing  headstrong  or  unreasonable.  We 
felt  also  that,  dependent  as  we  were  on  the 
goodwill  of  all  these  men,  we  should  be  more 
likely  to  obtain  both  help  and  sympathy  by 
showing  that  we  were  amenable  to  honest 
advice.  Of  course  many  of  them  urged  us 
to  "chuck  the  Bishop,"  as  they  expressed  it, 
and  return  to  England.  But  this  was  not 
to  be  thought  of.  The  Mission  had  gone 
to  great  expense  in  the  purchase  of  stores, 
tents,  etc.     The  Mission  doctor  was  hurry- 


ing  on  behind  us,  and  the  Bishop  had  gone 
up  country  in  the  full  conviction  that  we 
were  following  as  fast  as  possible.  No  one 
could  hold  him  responsible  for  the  troubles 
which  had  arisen,  and  the  unforeseen  diffi- 
culties which  had  cropped  up.  Africa  is  the 
land  of  the  unforeseen.  The  best-laid  plans 
are  unexpectedly  swept  away  in  the  twinkling 
of  an  eye  by  a  native  raid,  an  unprecedented 
flood,  a  "boom"  in  some  hitherto  unheard 
of  place,  to  which  everyone  rushes,  "  chuck- 
ing" everything  and  everybody,  regardless 
of  every  previous  promise  or  engagement. 
A  will-o'-the-wisp  is  more  steady  than  the 
African  political  horizon.  "Questions," 
"wars,"  "difficulties,"  spring  up  at  an 
instant's  notice.  There,  too,  where  the 
most  experienced  experts  and  geologists 
had  declared  it  to  be  impossible  to  find 
gold,  are  now  the  richest  gold-fields  perhaps 
in  the  world.  Yes,  that  "nothing  happens 
but  the  unexpected  "  is  indeed  the  motto  of 

Doubtless  it   would   hc\ve   better  pleased 


the  Bishop  if  a  steam-tug  had  been  ready  for 
us  at  Beira,  and  a  fast  coach  at  'Mpanda's. 
It  would,  therefore,  have  been  unfair  to  blame 
him  for  the  collapse  of  the  Road  Company 
and  for  the  other  difficulties  which  had 
sprung  up  in  our  way.  Of  course,  in  our 
secret  souls,  we  felt  that  it  would  have  been 
wiser  if  he  had  remained  at  Durban  till  we 
could  all  start  together  for  Beira.  But  he 
probably  thought  that  it  would  be  for  every- 
one's advantage  that  he  should  go  on  first, 
and  have  huts  and  hospital  ready  for  us 
when  we  got  up.  We  must  believe,  there- 
fore, that  he  acted  for  the  best. 

Inevitable  Fate  then  decreed  that  we 
should  wander  on  to  Mozambique,  from 
which  place  it  would  be  impossible  to  get 
back  to  Beira  till  the  nth  of  June.  That 
evening  an  unfortunate  white  man,  whom 
the  Agnes  had  discovered  lying  in  an  un- 
conscious and  half- starved  condition  in  an 
open  boat  on  the  Pungwe,  was  brought  on 
board  the  Tyrian,  Dr.  de  Burgh  taking 
charge  of  him.      He  was  very  ill  indeed  all 


the  next  day,  and  we  fed  him  by  teaspoons- 
full  every  quarter  of  an  hour,  night  and 

On  the  2nd  of  June  we  left  Beira  for 
Mozambique.  Our  sick  man  was  a  shade 
better,  but  still  very  bad.  Sisters  Lucy 
Sleeman  and  B.  Welby  were  utterly  pros- 
trated by  sea-sickness.  I  was  not  very  bad, 
so  stayed  with  the  patient ;  but  what  with  the 
smell  of  his  food,  the  stuffiness  of  his  cabin, 
and  one  thing  or  another,  I  soon  began  to 
be  sick  also,  and  had  the  curious  experience 
of  trying  to  nurse  a  bad  case  in  the  intervals 
of  all  the  qualms  of  sea-sickness.  I  held  on 
for  a  couple  of  hours,  and  then  was  forced 
to  call  a  steward  and  give  up  my  place  to 
him.  Nothing  takes  pluck  out  of  one  like 
sea  -  sickness.  The  spirit  felt  angry  and 
ashamed,  but  the  flesh  was  triumphant  and 

The  Tyrian  went  straight  to  Mozam- 
bique, where  we  arrived  on  the  4th  of  June. 
The  very  picturesque  old  town  is  built  on  a 
small  island.     The  houses  are  large,  built  of 


stone  ;  and  are  painted  pink,  blue,  green,  and 
every  colour  of  the  rainbow.  A  massive 
old  grey  fort,  built  in  the  sixteenth  cen- 
tury, I .  think,  lends  a  certain  air  of  dignity 
and  calm  to  the  somewhat  confused  and 
gimcrack  brilliancy  of  the  modern  town. 
The  light  plumes  of  the  cocoa-nut  palms 
wave  above  the  house-tops ;  boats  flit  over 
the  bay;  Arab  dhows,  all  sail  and  no 
hull,  fly  along  like  monstrous  birds ;  great 
steamers  puff  noisily  out  to  sea.  Whilst  we 
admired  the  lovely,  animated  scene,  our  ship 
was  suddenly  besieged  by  a  fleet  of  native 
"  dug-outs  "  filled  with  fruit,  coral,  shells,  or 
fish.  We  bought  some  lovely  shells,  but 
the  coral  was  white,  and  looked  brittle  and 
cumbersome,  and  did  not  tempt  us.  We 
had  great  amusement  out  of  the  native  fleet 
of  canoes,  which  were  either  dug  out  of  the 
trunk  of  a  tree  or  made  of  bark.  They  were 
very  ricketty,  it  being  generally  impossible 
for  a  man  to  stand  up  in  them  without  upset- 
ting. One  native  paddles  the  canoe,  another 
squats   at  the  bottom,   and   scoops   out   the 


water  all  the  time.  If  the  water  gets  the 
better  of  the  scooper,  both  men  jump  over- 
board, turn  the  canoe  upside  down  to  get  rid 
of  the  water,  right  her,  and  start  again. 

The  next  day  we  went  on  shore,  hoping 
to  find  some  curious  specimens  of  native 
work,  which  we  could  take  home.  We 
found  nothing,  however,  but  the  very  com- 
monest English  goods  —  coarse  shirts  of 
staring  colours  which  the  "  sweated "  must 
have  turned  out  for  "sweaters"  by  the 
hundred  at  home ;  frightful  earthenware 
dishes;  and  things  of  that  sort.  We  admired 
the  Mozambique  women  swathed  in  graceful 
if  scanty  drapery,  and  walking,  as  I  suppose 
none  but  an  African  or  an  Indian  woman 
can  walk,  with  the  perfection  of  grace. 

The  Governor's  house,  the  barracks,  and 
the  hospital,  were  quite  splendid,  or  looked 
so  in  their  surroundings.  Such  buildings 
would  be  better  suited  to  Durban  or  Cape 
Town  than  to  Mozambique,  a  sleepy  hamlet, 
the  commerce  of  which  is,  I  hear,  slowly  but 
surely  drifting  away  to  other  ports — to  Beira, 


I  believe,  among  others.  I  suppose  the 
decline  of  the  slave  trade  has  ruined  these 
once  flourishing  towns. 

The  following  day  was  Saturday,  and  Mr. 
Grant's  natives  to  the  number  of  seventy-nine 
came  on  board.  Such  a  chattering  amusing 
crowd,  draped  in  every  imaginable  colour, 
swarming  up  the  ship's  sides  like  monkeys, 
pushing  each  other  into  the  water,  and  laugh- 
ing perpetually !  Mr.  Grant  did  not  intend 
to  take  another  white  man  with  him,  but 
proposed  to  go  quite  alone.  He  said  a  com- 
panion was  a  nuisance,  as  the  climate  is  so 
irritating  that  it  is  impossible  not  to  squabble, 
and  one  is  always  having  rows  about  nothing 

We  reached  Quilimane  on  Sunday  even- 
ing ;  but,  the  tide  not  permitting  us  to  go  up 
the  river,  we  had  to  stay  in  the  open  till 
the  next  morning.  Mr.  Grant's  natives 
never  seemed  to  sleep.  They  danced,  sang, 
laughed,  or  told  stories,  like  those  that  Mr. 
Mounteney  Jephson  has  written  about,  and 
were  not  quiet   for  an  hour,    night  or  day. 


The  parrot-house  at  the  Zoo  would  have 
been  a  place  to  retire  to  for  peaceful  medita- 
tion, when  compared  with  the  Union  S.S. 
Tyrian  after  the  invasion  of  Mr.  Grant's 
natives.  The  night  we  spent  outside  Quili- 
mane  they  made  an  especially  terrible  noise, 
for  they  had  eaten  a  week's  provision  of  rice 
in  one  day,  and  Mr.  Grant  having  refused  to 
give  them  any  more,  they  screamed,  and 
danced,  and  told  stories  with  even  more  than 
usual  energy — to  drown  care,  or,  perhaps, 
with  an  eye  to  digestion. 

We  got  rid  of  them  next  day,  when  we 
steamed  up  the  river  and  anchored  opposite 
the  town  of  Quilimane,  a  pretty -looking 
place  buried  in  trees,  but  I  should  think  very 
unhealthy.  We  went  on  shore  as  soon  as 
possible.  It  was  always  delightful  to  escape 
from  the  ship,  which  was  so  crowded  that 
there  was  very  little  room  to  walk  about. 
We  should,  indeed,  have  been  uncomfortable 
had  not  Captain  Morton,  with  thoughtful 
kindness,  made  us  free  of  his  chart-house, 
which  we  used  as  a  little  sitting-room. 


Quilimane  is  composed  of  well-built  stone 
houses,  standing  on  either  side  of  wide  roads, 
and  surrounded  by  gardens.  The  orange 
trees  were  laden  with  fruit,  and  there  were 
pine -apples  and  banana  trees  flourishing 
everywhere  in  all  the  wild  luxuriance  of 
African  growth.  The  shops  were  just  like 
those  of  Mozambique,  and  very  disappoint- 
ing. Quilimane  is  only  about  fourteen  days 
from  Bombay,  and  the  Arab  dhows  are  con- 
stantly going  backwards  and  forwards,  yet 
we  could  not  obtain  a  single  Indian  rug,  a 
piece  of  Indian  silk,  or  any  of  the  beguiling 
trifles  which  India  exports.  The  shops  both 
at  Quilimane  and  Mozambique  were  much 
like  East-end  stalls.  The  most  important  of 
them  sold  English  soap,  which  we  were  glad 
to  pounce  upon. 

We  made  the  acquaintance  of  the  Acting 
Consul,  Mr.  Belcher,  with  whom  Mr.  Grant 
was  going  to  stay.  He  took  us  for  a  long 
walk  through  the  picturesque  woods  that 
surround  Quilimane,  and  procured  us  some 
curios  —  such    as    gold    beads    made   out  of 


Zambesi  alluvial,  and  long  chains  of  mar- 
vellous fineness,  like  those  of  Venetian 
workmanship,  which  the  natives  beat  out 
of  a  sovereign.  If  one  has  time,  it  is  in- 
teresting to  give  a  sovereign  to  the  worker 
and  see  a  chain  evolved  out  of  it. 

We  could  not  leave  Quilimane  till  the 
nth  of  June,  and  glad  we  were  to  be  off 
again,  life  in  the  coasting  steamer  having 
become  most  wearisome.  We  took  in  a 
good  stock  of  the  oranges  for  which  Quili- 
mane is  famous.  On  Friday,  12th  June, 
we  again  anchored  in  the  Pungwe  Bay,  and 
Major  Johnson  once  more  came  on  board, 
having  come  down  from  'Mpanda's.  He 
told  us  that  before  leaving  it,  he  had  himself 
seen  our  tent  pitched  on  the  spot  chosen  by 
the  Bishop,  our  stretchers  put  up,  and  every- 
thing made  ready  for  our  arrival.  Our  tent, 
he  said,  had  been  borrowed  for  some  sick 
Europeans,  but  they  were  then  convales- 
cent, and  no  longer  needed  it.  He  told  us 
also  that  Dr.  Todd  of  the  Magicienne  was 
looking  after  the  sick  at  'Mpanda's,  the 

82        ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND  chap,  ii 

Company's  doctor  being  seriously  ill.  There 
had  been,  Johnson  added,  a  good  deal  of 
illness  in  the  camp,  but  it  was  all  over  now. 
Nearly  all  this  news  which  he  gave  us  was 
found,  on  our  arrival  at  'Mpanda's,  to  be  alto- 
gether misleading.  Captain  Ewing  now 
appeared  on  the  scene,  telling  us  that  the 
Shark  would  be  in  readiness  at  four  the 
next  morning,  and  that  we  must  not  keep 
her  waiting,  or  we  should  lose  the  tide.  It 
was  essential  to  get  to  'Mpanda's  in  one  day, 
the  little  launch  having  no  sleeping  accom- 
modation of  any  sort  or  kind,  and  a  night 
amid  the  thick  river  fog  being  a  thing  to  be 
emphatically  avoided.  Therefore,  very  soon 
after  dinner,  we  went  to  bed,  looking  for- 
ward immensely  to  at  last  saying  good-bye 
to  civilisation. 


On  the  Pungwe"  —  Sixteen  hours  in  the  Shark  —  Hippo- 
potami —  Crocodiles  —  Intense  heat  —  'Mpanda's  — 
Nowhere  to  sleep — Lions — Old  Wilkins — Dr.  Todd 
of  the  Magiriemie — Fever — Work  among  the  natives 
— Camp  life — The  Consul — A  plague  of  rats — Arrival 
of  Dr.  Glanville — News  from  the  Bishop — Disputes 
among  Mission  workers  —  Livingstonian  anecdote — 
Sir  John  Willoughby  and  monkey-nuts — Collapse  of 
transport — We  must  walk  one  hundred  and  ninety 
miles  —  Opposition — The  enemy  routed — The  Portu- 
guese commandante — A  Portuguese  military  hospital 
— Departure  of  Consul — Wilkins  in  search  of  bearers 
— His  dramatic  return — No  money — Lieut.  Robertson 
to  the  rescue. 

We  were  up  betimes  on  the  morning  of 
Saturday  the  13th  of  June,  and  ready  and 
eager  to  start  in  the  Shark,  which  steamed 
up  alongside  the  Tyrian  punctually  at  four 
o'clock.  But  a  thick  fog  suddenly  enveloped 
us,  sweeping  down  the  Pungwe  with  magical 
swiftness,  so   that  we  had  to  curb  our  im- 


patience  and  wait  till  nearly  five.  The  fog 
then  lifting  a  little,  Captain  Ewing  decided 
on  venturing  up  the  river,  as  a  longer  delay 
meant  losing  the  tide,  and  having  to  spend  a 
night  in  the  Shark.  The  little  launch  being 
the  tiniest  of  steam-launches,  in  which  we 
three,  Captain  Ewing,  and  two  sailors,  had 
barely  room  to  sit,  the  prospect  of  a  night  on 
board  was  anything  but  pleasant. 

We  started,  puffing  gaily  away,  and  soon 
lost  sight  of  the  Tyrtan,  picking  our  way 
carefully  amongst  islands,  which  loomed 
dimly  through  the  fog.  After  about  an 
hour  and  a  half  the  fog  lightened,  and  then 
we  discovered  that  we  had  somehow  drifted 
round  an  island,  and  were  rapidly  returning 
to  Beira.  No  sooner  had  we  altered  our 
course,  making  some  advance  up  the  river, 
than  we  stuck  on  one  of  the  shifting  sand- 
banks, which  render  the  navigation  of  the 
Pungwe  so  troublesome.  To  this  day,  in  spite 
of  the  many  careful  charts  which  have  been 
made,  steamers  drift  on  to  unexpected  shoals, 
being  often  detained   thus  for  many  hours. 


Our  sand-bank,  however,  did  not  delay  us 
more  than  half  an  hour. 

By  this  time  the  sun  had  dispelled  the 
mists,  and  we  glided  along  in  our  little  boat, 
which  looked  like  a  tiny  speck  on  the  wide 
rapid  river,  able  at  last  to  take  note  of  our 
surroundings.  Swift,  dark,  and  mysterious, 
the  broad  Pungwe  flows  smoothly  along, 
between  low  flat  banks,  whose  vivid  green 
verdure  betrays  the  swampy  nature  of  the 
soil.  Families  of  cranes  of  every  conceivable 
colour  stalked  about  in  the  shallows,  or  stood 
pensively  on  one  leg,  giving  us  an  indifferent, 
supercilious  glance  as  we  passed. 

Suddenly  we  heard  a  crashing  amongst 
the  branches  and  thick  vegetation  to  the 
right  of  our  boat,  and  a  troop  of  hippopotami 
plunged  heavily  into  the  water.  We  took 
great  delight  in  watching  them  swimming 
about,  splashing,  diving,  or  floating  along 
like  huge  logs — although  I  think  we  were  at 
first  a  little  afraid,  having  heard  terrible  tales 
of  the  enraged  hippopotamus  crunching  up 
boats  for  pastime  as  he  enjoyed  his  morning 

86  ADVENTURES  chap. 

bath.  But  these  were  amiable  monsters,  or 
perhaps  only  contemptuous.  In  any  case 
they  took  no  notice  of  us.  As  if  in  contrast 
to  these  great  beasts,  a  number  of  curious 
little  amphibious  creatures,  half  bird,  half 
reptile,  flitted  past  the  launch.  We  had 
scarcely  finished  wondering  at  them,  when 
a  flight  of  brilliant  butterflies  crossed  the 
river  just  over  our  heads.  There  must 
have  been  many  hundreds  of  them,  for  we 
at  first  thought  it  was  a  swarm  of  locusts. 
Never  before  or  since  have  I  seen  so  many 
butterflies,  and  I  am  told  it  was  an  unusual 

The  vivid  green  that  fringes  the  river 
only  partially  conceals  long,  low  mud-banks 
where  monstrous  crocodiles  sun  themselves. 
One  or  two,  disturbed  by  our  passage, 
dropped  sullenly  into  the  water.  They  filled 
us  with  horror.  Out  of  such  evil,  glittering 
eyes  might  lost  spirits  and  condemned  souls 
look  forth.  The  Pungwe  literally  swarms 
with  them. 

Now,  however,  we  became  indifferent  to  all 


sights  and  sounds.  Noonday  was  approach- 
ing, and  the  heat  was  gradually  becoming 
more  intense.  The  launch  had  no  awning ; 
barely  a  yard  separated  us  from  the  boiler. 
The  water  became  a  great,  glittering, 
dazzling  plane.  Our  eyes  ached,  our  heads 
burned.  We  stood  up  now  and  then,  that 
being  the  only  change  of  position  possible. 
An  insatiable  thirst  consumed  us.  Even  I, 
whom  my  friends  used  to  liken  to  a  rabbit, 
because  I  never  wanted  to  drink,  felt  dry 
and  parched ;  but  of  course  I  suffered  much 
less  than  my  two  companions.  The  river 
water  was  quite  hot ;  and  very  nasty  and 
unwholesome  on  account  of  the  quantity  of 
rank,  decaying  vegetation  over  which  it 
flows.  It  served  to  fill  one's  mouth  with 
from  time  to  time,  but  did  not  afford  much 
relief.  We  had  a  little  claret  on  board  and 
a  few  oranges  ;  without  these  latter  I  don't 
think  we  could  have  got  on  at  all.  As  it 
was,  there  were  moments  when  I  felt  as  if 
there  might  be  worse  fates  than  that  of 
being  eaten  by  a  crocodile.      It  would  at  all 


events  be  cool  at  the  bottom  of  the  river. 
We  were,  however,  determined  not  to 
grumble.  Afterwards  Captain  Ewing  con- 
fessed that   he   had  expected   us   to   break 

down,  and  give  him  a  "d d  bad  time," 

to  use  his  own  forcible  language. 

Towards  four  o'clock,  a  light  breeze 
springing  up,  life  once  more  became  the 
delightful  business  it  generally  is. 

In  spite  of  a  sand-bank  or  two,  on  which 
we  had  now  and  then  stuck  for  a  few 
minutes,  we  had  made  good  way,  and  ex- 
pected to  reach  'Mpanda's  about  six  in  the 
evening.  The  fires  had  been  more  than 
once  raked  out  with  tremendous  noise, 
emptying  of  cinders  overboard,  and  clouds  of 
dust.  We  were  going  a  good  pace  when  we 
passed  Nevez  Fereira,  a  Portuguese  encamp- 
ment, fifteen  miles  by  river  from  'Mpanda's, 
where  the  Portuguese  soldiers,  with  beating 
drums  and  rifles  levelled  at  us,  had  obliged 
us  to  stop  and  explain  ourselves.  Suddenly 
something  went  wrong  with  the  screw,  we 
crawled  along  in  a  jerky  fashion,  and  took 


nearly  six  hours  doing  fifteen  miles.  The 
sun  leaped  out  of  the  sky  into  the  nether 
world,  as  it  does  in  those  climes  ;  and  the 
marvellous  tropical  moonlight  shed  its  clear 
radiance  over  the  river,  leaving  the  thick 
bush  on  either  side  shrouded  in  impenetrable 
darkness  and  mystery.  If  that  veil  of 
shadow  had  been  lifted  what  strange 
monsters  would  have  been  revealed — fierce 
lion,  gigantic  python  !  As  we  could  not  see, 
we  imagined.  By-and-by  the  moon  deserted 
us,  thick  mists  gathered  around  us,  the  screw 
could  no  longer  force  the  launch  off  the 
shoals.  Captain  Ewing  and  his  men  got 
overboard,  and  shoved  us  off.  The  agonies 
of  mind  we  suffered,  lest  these  brave  men 
should  be  snapped  up  by  a  passing  crocodile, 
may  be  fancied  better  than  described. 

It  was  half-past  nine  when  we  reached 
'Mpanda's.  As  soon  as  the  shriek  of  the 
Shark's  steam -whistle  was  heard,  half  the 
camp  must  have  rushed  to  the  landing-place. 
Lanterns  flashed  to  and  fro.  A  number  of 
men  shouted  questions,   and  offered  incom- 

90  ADVENTURES  chap. 

prehensible  advice.  But  an  authoritative 
voice  silenced  the  clamour,  and  directed  our 
launch  to  go  alongside  a  lighter,  across 
which  we  might  walk  to  land. 

The  voice  belonged  to  Mr.  Jerram, 
acting  captain  of  the  Pigeon,  and  Vice- 
Consul  at  'Mpanda's.  He  welcomed  us 
cordially,  and  sent  one  of  his  "pigeons"  to 
make  coffee  for  us.  Mr.  Dymott,  the  Road 
Company's  agent,  then  came  forward,  and 
said  he  was  very  sorry  that  there  was  nothing 
ready  for  us.  Major  Johnson  had  told  him 
there  was  no  chance  of  our  coming  up  to 
'Mpanda's.  Our  tent  was  still  occupied  by 
three  Europeans  who  had  been  ill.  He 
would  see  how  he  could  put  us  up  in  the 
morning,  and  meanwhile  he  placed  his  tent 
at  our  disposal  for  the  night. 

This  was  cold  comfort  to  us  poor  women, 
tired  out  with  over  sixteen  hours  in  the 
Shark,  expecting  to  find  our  tent  ready  for 
us,  and  looking  forward  to  a  peaceful  night. 
We  did  not  exactly  bless  the  memory  of  the 
imaginative  Johnson.     However,  nothing  is 


so  futile  as  grumbling.  We  accepted  the 
situation  with  such  calm  that  Mr.  Dymott 
conceived  the  idea  of  keeping  our  tent 
altogether,  a  project  which  Captain  Ewing 
and  the  Consul  frustrated. 

Wilkins,  the  Bishop's  builder  and  head- 
man— an  excellent  but  doddering  old  person, 
whom  it  was  amazing  to  think  of  as  of  hav- 
ing been  with  Livingstone — guided  us  to 
Mr.  Dymott's  tent. 

In  the  midst  of  its  dirt  and  confusion  bed 
and  sleep  were  out  of  the  question.  We 
curled  ourselves  up  in  a  heap  on  one  of  our 
waterproof  sheets,  and  waited  for  day.  Now 
and  then  we  dozed,  but  were  soon  aroused 
by  unaccustomed  sounds — the  long,  weird 
shriek  of  a  hyaena  ;  the  roar  of  a  lion.  These 
latter  were  half  a  mile  off  at  least,  but  we 
thought  they  were  actually  in  the  camp !  I 
think  a  few  tears  were  shed  in  that  tent ;  we 
could  not  help  feeling  forlorn,  alone,  without 
even  an  acquaintance,  in  the  midst  of  these 
wild  surroundings,   but   were    of  course   re- 

92  ADVENTURES  chap. 

solved  that  no  one  should  even  guess  what 
we  felt. 

It  was  scarcely  light  when  Wilkins,  fol- 
lowed by  his  native  boy,  appeared  with 
coffee,  a  bath,  and  a  couple  of  buckets  of 
water,  requesting  us  to  come  to  his  tent  as 
soon  as  we  were  dressed,  when  breakfast 
would  be  ready. 

After  we  had  made  a  hurried  toilet,  the 
native  who  was  squatting  outside  the  tent 
guided  us  through  the  camp  to  the  Bishop's 
encampment.  This,  at  that  time,  consisted 
only  of  a  small  tent  belonging  to  Wilkins, 
and  two  patrol  tents  for  the  carpenters,  the 
natives,  and  kitchen  purposes.  A  large 
supply  of  stores,  partly  covered  with  sailcloth, 
lay  in  front  of  the  tent.  Breakfast  was 
spread  on  a  flat,  square  packing-case,  propped 
on  two  other  boxes. 

During  the  meal  Wilkins  told  us  he  had 
already  seen  Mr.  Dymott,  requesting  him  to 
let  us  have  our  tent  immediately.  This 
gentleman  had  demurred,  saying  that  he 
would  "run  us  up"  a  grass  hut,  or  lean-to, 


adjoining  the  bar,  from  which  we  could  very 
conveniently  obtain  our  meals.  "  But  I 
knew,  sisters,"  said  old  Wilkins,  "what  was 
doo  to  females  ;  and  I  says,  Mr.  Dymott,  I 
says,  if  that  there  tent  ain't  returned  by  ten 
o'clock,  I'll  strike  it  over  the  heads  of  them 
that  live  in  it !  " 

Anxious  to  avoid  a  row,  we  sent  a  note  to 
the  Consul,  begging  him  to  have  the  matter 
arranged  quietly,  but  saying  that  if  the  men 
who  lived  in  our  tent  were  not  convalescent 
they  must  of  course  keep  it.  Mr.  Jerram 
answered  that  they  were  up  and  about,  but 
had  no  place  to  go  to,  and  were  not  well 
enough  to  cook  for  themselves.  He  added 
that  women  could  not  possibly  live  in  or  near 
a  bar  in  a  pioneer  camp,  and  that  it  was 
absolutely  necessary  for  us  to  have  our  tent. 

He  and  Captain  Ewing  asked  all  the 
Europeans  in  camp  to  volunteer  with  their 
natives,  and  build  a  hospital  hut  for  the  use 
of  any  Europeans  who  might  want  a  shelter. 
In  an  incredibly  short  time  the  hut  was  put 
up,  and  that  afternoon  old  Wilkins  had  the 


satisfaction    of    pitching  our   tent    near    his 

We,  meanwhile,  had  not  been  idle.  Very 
soon  after  breakfast  Dr.  Todd  of  the 
Magicienne  called,  and  asked  us  to  help 
him  with  his  sick.  He  told  us  that  the 
Road  Company's  natives  were  in  a  shocking 
state.  Two  had  been  found  dead  that  morn- 
ing in  the  miserable  shelter — it  could  not  be 
called  a  hut — into  which  they  were  crowded. 
Twenty-eight  or  thirty  of  these  natives  had 
refused  to  work  two  days  before,  saying  they 
were  ill.  The  whites  believed  they  were 
shamming,  therefore  no  rations  were  served 
out  till  they  would  go  to  work.  The  death 
of  two  of  the  poor  creatures  gave  convincing 
proof  of  the  reality  of  their  sufferings,  and 
saved  the  remainder.  Dr.  Todd  refused  to 
attend  to  them  unless  proper  rations  of 
native  meal,  with  such  meat  and  medical 
comforts  as  were  available,  were  served  out 
to  them.  Of  course  he  had  his  way, — most 
determined  men  have,  especially  in  Africa. 
Nor  were  the  white  men  deliberately  cruel, 


rather    were     they    thoughtless     and     self- 

Besides  which,  the  home- staying  Euro- 
pean can  form  no  idea  of  the  powers  of 
aggravation  possessed  by  the  natives.  Tricky 
as  water-sprites,  they  rejoice  in  the  confusion 
their  blunders  create.  A  native  who  upsets 
his  master's  soup -pot  just  as  that  worthy 
clamours  for  dinner,  cannot  help  grinning 
from  ear  to  ear.  Then  he  gets  knocked 
down,  but  hardly  has  he  touched  the  earth 
when  he  is  up  again  like  an  elastic  ball,  and 
away  he  bounds  to  a  group  of  other  boys, 
who  listen  to  his  tale  with  delighted  laughter  ; 
and  if  they  are  pursued,  he  and  his  friends 
are  quickly  hidden  in  the  long  grass.  As 
the  irate  white  man,  giving  it  up,  marches 
off  in  search  of  a  dinner,  black  heads  peep 
out  from  unexpected  places,  and  splutters  of 
mocking  laughter  follow  him.  More  than 
once  have  we  watched  such  scenes  at 
'Mpanda's,  and  it  cannot  be  wondered  at  if 
the  native  is  looked  upon  as  a  nuisance,  im- 
possible either  to  get  rid  of  or  tolerate.      In 


reality  he  is  nothing  but  a  grown-up  child, 
and,  if  treated  as  such,  loses  much  of  his 
power  to  irritate. 

Dr.  Todd  took  us  through  the  camp  to 
the  native  huts.  The  white  men's  quarters — 
tents  and  grass  huts  flung  down  confusedly 
on  the  banks  of  a  muddy  stream  —  were 
squalid  and  wretched  beyond  description. 
The  Pungwe  bounded  the  camp  on  the  right, 
and  a  stagnant  creek  ran  along  its  front. 
Empty  tins  and  refuse  of  all  sorts  strewed 
the  space  between  the  tents  and  huts.  As 
for  the  natives,  they  were  crowded  into  two 
wretched  grass  shelters — about  twenty-eight 
sick,  and  I  don't  know  how  many  others. 
We  had  to  go  into  these  huts  almost  on  hands 
and  knees. 

The  first  thing  to  do  was  to  clean  up,  and 
this  we  did  at  once,  making  brooms  out  of 
branches  of  trees.  Then  we  got  our  patients 
into  tidy  rows  on  mats,  blankets,  or  rags, 
whatever  was  available  ;  took  their  tempera- 
tures; fed  them;  hung  a  washing  book  to  a 
nail  to  do  duty  for  a  ward  book ;   and  soon 


established  a  fair  imitation  of  hospital  rou- 

Dr.  Todd  was  delightful  to  work  with. 
Had  these  miserable  natives  been  his  own 
belongings  he  could  not  have  done  much  more 
for  them.  They  had  been  engaged  by  the 
Road  Company  at  Durban,  I  think,  without 
much  reference  to  their  physical  condition — 
some  were  phthisical,  nearly  all  weakly. 

The  work  in  these  huts  being  somewhat 
trying  on  account  of  heat  and  smell,  and  the 
want  of  all  appliances  for  cleaning,  I  under- 
took it  myself,  with  Sister  Lucy  Sleeman, 
whose  clever  nursing  and  unselfish  devotion 
to  the  sick  proved  so  invaluable  in  every 
emergency.  Sister  B.  Welby  took  charge  of 
four  Europeans,  who  were  under  Dr.  Todd's 
care.  One  of  these,  who  was  suffering  from 
a  gun-shot  wound,  would  certainly  have  lost 
his  arm  but  for  that  doctor's  timely  arrival  at 
at  'Mpanda's. 

In  two  or  three  days  regular  food  and 
attention  began  to  tell  on  our  patients,  who 
improved  very  rapidly.      So  one  afternoon, 

98  ADVENTURES  chap. 

Dr.  Todd  and  Mr.  Jerram,  thinking  we  were 
beginning  to  look  fagged,  proposed  taking 
us  for  an  hour's  row  on  the  Pungwe,  and 
showing  us  the  road  of  which  we  had  heard 
so  much.  To  our  astonishment  and  amuse- 
ment the  "  road  "  making  consisted  of  setting 
fire  to  the  tall  grass,  neither  more  nor  less. 
We  lit  some  of  it  ourselves,  and  felt  as  if  we 
were  materially  advancing  that  "  opening  up 
of  Mashonaland,"  which  was  in  everyone's 

On  our  return  to  'Mpanda's  we  found  some 
new  arrivals,  who  told  us  that  Dr.  Glanville 
had  left  Beira ;  was  on  board  the  Agnes, 
stuck  somewhere  on  a  Pungwe  sand-bank ; 
and  might  be  expected  at  any  moment.  This 
was  very  good  news.  We  had  now  been 
some  days  at  'Mpanda's,  and  had  seen  enough 
to  know  that  coaches  and  waggons  to  Salis- 
bury were  the  least  substantial  of  airy  myths. 
Major  Johnson  had  indeed  assured  us  that 
the  first  coach  had  started  for  Mashonaland, 
but  had  omitted  to  add  that  it  had  arrived 
nowhere,  and  was  stationary  on  the  veldt  not 


far  from  the  Pungwe  camp,  merely  serving 
to  carry  the  provisions  of  the  road-making 
party.  We  passed  it  on  our  way  up,  unable 
to  move  either  backwards  or  forwards  on 
account  of  the  condition  of  the  fly-stricken 
oxen,  most  of  which  had  died. 

A  prolonged  stay  on  the  banks  of  the 
Pungwe  was  of  all  things  to  be  avoided. 
Though  Mr.  Jerram  and  Dr.  Todd  had  done 
so  much  to  reform  the  sanitary  condition  of 
the  camp,  they  could  not  make  it  healthy. 
The  stagnant  creek  sent  forth  pestilential 
exhalations  ;  the  heat  was  suffocating ;  tall, 
rank  grass,  and  groups  of  the  sinister-looking 
"  fever  trees,"  kept  off  every  breath  of  air. 
These  "  fever  trees "  are  a  species  of 
mimosa,  with  pallid  boles  and  livid  green 
foliage,  and  the  experienced  explorer  always 
avoids  their  neighbourhood.  Every  night  a 
dense  fog  from  the  river  closed  round  us,  and 
was  not  dispelled  till  the  sun  had  been  up  for 
an  hour  or  two.  After  the  scorching  heat, 
the  damp  misty  nights  seemed  to  chill  one  to 
the  bone. 

ioo  ADVENTURES  chap. 

Nor  was  it  easy  to  sleep  in  spite  of  the 
comfortable  stretchers  which  had  been  pro- 
vided for  us.  Our  tent,  like  every  other, 
swarmed  with  rats.  They  scrambled  up  and 
down  the  canvas,  constantly  falling  on  our 
beds,  and  sometimes  on  our  faces.  We  were 
all  of  opinion  that  the  wild  beasts  outside 
were  much  less  terrible  than  the  rats !  At 
that  time  we  believed  that  neither  lion  nor 
leopard  would  venture  into  a  camp.  We 
were  destined  to  be  rudely  undeceived  later 
on  at  Umtali. 

As  far  as  creature  comforts  were  concerned 
there  was  nothing  to  complain  of,  indeed  the 
waste  and  profusion  around  troubled  us  not 
a  little.  Wilkins,  who  took  great  care  of 
us,  had  no  idea  of  thrift.  The  white  men 
under  him,  and  even  their  natives,  would 
attack  the  great  pile  of  stores  at  all  hours  of 
the  day,  and  stinted  themselves  in  nothing. 
We  resolved  to  speak  to  Dr.  Glanville  as 
soon  as  he  arrived,  and  request  him  to  put  the 
whole  of  our  small  encampment  on  rations. 

Our  first  letter  from  the  Bishop  amused 


us  much.  It  was  brought  by  a  " runner,"  and 
was  tied  up  in  a  bit  of  "  limbo,"  and  stuck 
into  a  cleft  stick.  What  a  much  more 
poetical  way  of  receiving  letters  than  by  the 
English  penny  post !  Not  so  safe,  perhaps — 
but  then  even  poetry  has  two  sides,  a  wrong 
and  a  right  one,  if  you  choose  to  examine 
things  closely.  I  remember  the  Bishop 
telling  us  afterwards  that,  as  he  travelled  up 
country,  he  met  several  natives  who  attached 
themselves  to  his  party.  One  of  them  had  a 
small  dirty  bundle  dangling  from  the  end  of 
an  assegai.  This  bundle  was  always  falling 
into  swamps,  and  being  fished  out  of  rivers. 
At  last  the  Bishop  asked  what  it  was.  It 
was  Her  Majesty's  mail! 

To  return  to  our  letter,  which  did  not 
seem  to  have  suffered  much  en  route.  The 
news  from  up  country  was  bad,  though  the 
Bishop  had  arrived  safely  at  Umtali.  He 
said  that  there  was  not  the  slightest  chance 

tof  waggons  or  coaches  reaching  'M  panda's 
for  two  months,  and  it  seemed  improbable 
that  they  could  return  to  Umtali  in  less  than 

102  ADVENTURES  chap. 

two  months  more.  He  thought  we  might 
engage  bearers,  and  have  ourselves  carried 
up  in  "  machilas  " — a  sort  of  hammock  slung 
on  a  pole. 

The  state  of  things  in  Mashonaland  was, 
he  told  us,  unsatisfactory.  The  worst  rainy- 
season  known  for  years  had  turned  the  rivers 
into  impassable  torrents.  Miles  of  veldt 
were  nothing  but  a  vast  morass.  It  had 
been  almost  impossible  to  get  any  provisions 
up  to  Fort  Salisbury  —  none  had  reached 
Umtali.  The  Company's  Police  had  been 
living  on  pumpkins  and  ground-nuts,  until 
Masse- Kesse  and  its  stores  had  fallen  into 
their  hands.  These  stores  were  nearly  at  an 
end,  and  starvation  was  again  threatening. 
The  men  had  suffered  a  great  deal,  having 
no  change  of  clothes,  and  being  obliged  to 
go  on  duty  and  stand  or  ride  for  hours  in 
soaking  rain.  Many  of  them  were  without 
boots  or  shoes.  Nothing  kept  these  troops, 
as  perhaps  they  may  be  called,  together,  but 
the  profound  conviction  that  it  would  all 
come    right.       "  Rhodes   would   square   it." 


I  have  even  heard  an  excited  personage 
declare  that,  "  Rhodes  would  square  the  tsetse 
fly."  In  point  of  fact,  I  suppose,  he  really 
will  have  "  squared "  it  before  long,  the 
Beira  and  Umtali  Railway  being  now  nearly 

The  day  after  we  received  the  Bishop's 
letter  two  men  walked  up  from  the  Agnes, 
having  been  put  ashore,  and  having  made 
their  way  along  the  Pungwe  banks.  We 
were  disappointed  that  Dr.  Doyle  Glanville 
was  not  with  them,  and  we  sent  a  note  by 
the  Pigeon,  explaining  that  it  was  fairly  easy 
walking,  from  the  spot  where  the  Agnes  was 
stuck,  to  the  camp — a  distance  of  from  six 
to  eight  miles.  We  also  sent  the  Bishop's 
letter  to  him,  that  he  might  be  prepared  for 
the  collapse  of  the  Transport  Company. 

Not  till  Wednesday,  the  18th  of  June, 
did  the  Doctor  arrive  in  one  of  the  boats 
of  the  Agnes,  leaving  that  steam-tug,  and 
the  lighters  she  was  towing,  still  fast  on  the 
shoal,  with  no  immediate  prospect  of  getting 
clear  of  it.      At  certain   times  of  the  year 

io4  ADVENTURES  chap. 

the  Pungwe  becomes  so  low,  that  only 
specially  built  flat-bottomed  boats  can  navi- 
gate it  comfortably. 

Dr.  Glanville  seemed  eager  to  push  on, 
and  proposed  sending  a  runner  at  once  to 
the  neighbouring  kraals,  or  native  villages, 
to  see  if  we  could  obtain  bearers.  There 
were  a  number  of  these  villages  round 
'Mpanda's,  and  we  had  excited  the  curiosity 
of  the  natives,  they  having  never  seen  a 
white  woman.  As  we  breakfasted  or 
lunched  in  our  tents,  a  troop  of  natives 
would  glide  silently  up  to  it,  squat  in  a 
semicircle  close  to  the  opening,  and  watch 
us  intently.  After  a  few  minutes  they  would 
retire,  and  give  place  to  others.  Every  day 
the  same  thing  happened.  We  began  to 
wonder  why  our  meals  had  a  special  interest 
for  them,  since  they  did  not  appear  to  watch 
the  white  men  feeding.  At  last  it  was  ex- 
plained to  us.  The  natives  could  not  under- 
stand our  waists,  or  how  we  contrived  to 
induce  the  food  to  pass  our  waist -bands. 
They   expected,    and   probably   hoped,   that 


some  terrible  catastrophe  would  ensue.  I  need 
hardly  say  that  our  waists  were  of  the  most 
ordinary  work-a-day  proportions,  that  we 
wore  flannel  shirts,  and  w£re  guiltless  of  stays. 
The  afternoon  of  the  Doctor's  arrival, 
another  letter  from  the  Bishop  arrived,  re- 
peating what  he  had  said  before,  and  request- 
ing us  to  go  no  farther  than  Umtali.  He 
himself  was  about  to  push  on  to  Fort 
Salisbury  in  search  of  provisions,  and  he 
begged  us  to  bring  as  much  food -stuff  as 
possible  with  us. 

It  being  obviously  necessary  to  husband 
our  stores  as  much  as  possible,  the  doctor 
drew  up  a  scheme  of  rations,  forbidding  any 
one  except  Wilkins  to  touch  the  stores.  The 
result  was  a  great  disturbance.  The  white 
men  attached  to  the  Mission  declared  that 
they  would  neither  be  "rationed"  nor  be 
"  under  "  Wilkins  !  They  had  been  promised 
home  comforts — you  could  have  jam  and 
butter  at  the  same  meal  at  home,  why  not  in 
Mashonaland  ?  One  of  the  men  left ;  one  re- 
tired to  his  tent  like  Achilles,  and  could  not  be 


pacified.  Little  Wilson,  our  East-ender,  took 
a  more  reasonable  view,  and  subsided  into 
sullen  resignation. 

After  all,  it  must  t>e  remembered  that  these 
white  men  had  been  entirely  uncontrolled 
and  unrestricted  since  the  Bishop's  departure. 
The  authority  of  old  Wilkins  was  nominal. 
They  were  not  inclined  to  accept  orders  from 
any  one  but  the  Bishop  himself.  The  Doctor 
did  not  know  how  to  manage  them,  and 
Wilkins  himself  refused  to  acknowledge  his 
authority.  It  was  a  very  uncomfortable 
phase  of  our  experiences.  Dr.  Glanville  had 
only  been  in  Africa  as  part  of  a  great 
military  organization,  which  moved  him  here 
and  there  like  a  pawn  on  a  chess-board. 
He  had  no  idea  how  to  move  a  pawn  him- 
self. He  was  surprised  and  non-plussed 
when  the  well-to-do  colonial  men,  who  made 
rather  a  favour  of  serving  the  Mission,  ob- 
jected to  being  treated  like  "  Tommy  Atkins." 
Old  Wilkins  became  a  stumbling-block  in  our 
way.  "  Should  a  man  who  had  been  with 
Livingstone  be  ordered  about  like  this?  " 

in  IN  MAS  NONA  LAND  107 

We  sometimes  wonder,  by-the-by,  whether 
old  Wilkins  had  been  with  Livingstone,  he 
told  us  such  incredible  stories  about  him.  I 
repeat  one  of  them. 

"  One  morning,  sisters,  and  'tis  as  true  as 
I'm  a  biting  this  crust,  we  were  surrounded 
by  strange  niggers — and  them  niggers  meant 
mischief  if  ever  a  nigger  did.  Livingstone 
he  says,  'We're  lost,'  says  he;  'we  must  go 
back  and  give  up.  Come  here,  Wilkins,  and 
advise  me  ! '  And  I  up  and  says,  '  Give  up, 
Doctor  ?  never !  Let's  go  and  drive  'em 
off.'  The  Doctor,  he  looks  at  me.  '  Right 
you  are,'  he  says  ;  '  lead  on,  my  brave  fellow, 
and  I'll  follow  ! '  And  as  true  as  I'm  a  living 
man  we  slew  seventy  before  breakfast ! " 
Wilkins  professed  a  lordly  contempt  for  the 
Stanley  expedition.  "  If  Stanley'd  known 
his  business  he'd  have  had  a  man  like  me  to 
manage  for  him,"  he  was  fond  of  saying. 
By  which  it  will  be  seen  that  Livingstone's 
man  had  an  excellent  opinion  of  himself,  and 
was  not  likely  to  knock  under  easily  to  a 
mere  tyro  such  as  Dr.  Glanville. 

108  ADVENTURES  chap. 

"I'm  a  man  to  be  trusted,"  he  would  say, 
with  an  air  of  great  importance  ;  "  them  there 
sisters  know  what  to  expect.  I'm  used  to 
the  ways  of  females,  and  the  very  night  they 
came  I  says,  '  Sisters  !  let  there  be  no  mistake 
— I'm  a  married  man  ! '  This  remark  amused 
the  Doctor  hugely.  He  took  great  delight 
in  leading  up  to  it,  and  making  the  old  man 
repeat  it  as  often  as  possible.  Poor  old 
Wilkins !  Peace  be  to  his  ashes !  After 
life's  fitful  fever,  he  sleeps  tranquilly  on  the 
wind-swept  summit  of  a  lofty  crag  in  far 

Rumours  of  a  terrible  state  of  things  in 
Mashonaland  flew  about  our  camp.  It  was 
impossible  to  say  from  whence  they  came,  or 
who  originated  them.  Sir  John  Willoughby, 
in  the  service  of  the  Chartered  Company, 
had  repeatedly  declared  that  large  stores  had 
been  taken  to  Mashonaland,  and  were  distri- 
buted to  all  the  stations  through  a  commis- 
sariat department.  We  were  now  assured 
that  he  had  spoken  without  sufficient  founda- 
tion for  his  assertions.     This  gentleman,  by 


the  way,  is  known  in  Mashonaland,  and 
indeed  throughout  Africa,  as  "  Monkey- 
Nuts,"  he  having  on  the  march  ordered  six 
monkey-nuts  (or  ground-nuts)  per  man  to  be 
served  out.  A  ground-nut  is  about  the  size 
of  a  beech-nut.  Very  likely  the  story  is  less 
true  than  ben  trovato.  I  never  met  Sir 
John,  but,  when  he  was  asked  to  help  the 
hospital,  a  large  cheque  reached  me  by 
return  of  post.  Other  people  were  not 
always  so  prompt. 

Be  this  as  it  may,  it  appeared  certain  that 
a  considerable  amount  of  distress  must  have 
prevailed  in  the  interior.  Even  at  'Mpanda's 
the  situation  began  to  look  serious.  The 
traders  who  had  brought  up  provisions,  in 
the  fond  persuasion,  that  they  could  take 
them  up  to  Fort  Salisbury  in  a  fortnight,  had 
to  eat  their  stores  themselves,  and  sell  what 
they  could  in  driblets  from  day  to  day.  Car- 
penters, builders,  workmen  of  all  sorts,  who 
had  spent  their  savings  on  tools  and  outfits, 
consumed  their  provisions  at  'Mpanda's. 
Then,  hopeless   and  ruined,  they  wandered 

no  AD  VENTURES  chap. 

back  to  Beira,  and  demanded  help  of  the 
Consul,  until  Captain  Pipon  had  so  many  of 
them  on  his  hands  that  he  sent  a  notice  to 
the  Natal  and  Cape  papers  warning  people 
not  to  come  up  to  Beira.  But,  as  the  adver- 
tisement of  the  Road  Company  had  not  been 
withdrawn  from  publication,  many  still  be- 
lieved in  the  coaches  and  waggons.  They 
came  up  to  judge  for  themselves,  to  the  ruin 
of  health  or  pocket — often  of  both. 

We  had  now  been  ten  days  at  'Mpanda's, 
and  there  appeared  no  chance  of  obtaining 
boys.  Our  patients  were  more  or  less  con- 
valescent. The  sick  men  were  to  be  sent  to 
the  coast ;  many  of  the  natives  had  already 
left.  Dr.  Todd  and  Mr.  Jerram  expected  to 
be  recalled  shortly.  Both  urged  us  to  give 
up  an  attempt  at  going  farther  on.  They 
declared  we  had  done  more  than  enough  to 
show  goodwill  and  unusual  pluck.  Would  we 
not  be  contented  with  that,  and  return  home  ? 
Or,  if  we  could  not  give  up  our  plans  at 
once,  would  we  at  least  go  back  to  Beira  ? 
The  Pigeon  was  at  our  disposal,  and  every 


effort  would  be  made  to  make  us  comfortable 
on  board  her. 

Dr.  Todd  declared  that  if  we  attempted 
to  walk  up,  it  would  be  at  the  peril  of  our 
lives.  No  women  he  had  known  had  ever 
walked  in  Africa;  even  men  found  it 
trying,  and  sometimes  died  on  the  way.  We 
told  our  excellent  advisers  that  we  could  only 
die  once,  and  that  dying  was  just  as  disagree- 
able in  a  room  as  on  the  veldt.  If  women 
had  never  walked  in  Africa  there  was  no 
reason  why  they  should  not  begin.  Supposing 
that,  after  a  day  or  two's  march,  we  found  it 
impossible  to  go  on,  we  could  turn  back  with 
less  shame  and  self-reproach  than  if  we  had 
made  little  or  no  attempt  to  carry  out  our 

Dr.  Todd,  who  was  somewhat  of  an 
autocrat  on  board  his  ship,  waxed  angry 
and  contemptuous.  Who  were  these  nurses 
who  dared  to  dispute  his  opinion  ?  He  said 
that  what  we  did  or  did  not  do  was  a  matter 
of  supreme  indifference  to  him.  He  had 
offered    us    the    only    possible    advice  —  we 

H2  ADVENTURES  chap. 

would  not  take  it — well,  our  foolhardiness 
would  meet  with  its  just  reward.  There- 
upon he  hurled  himself  out  of  our  tent.  The 
Consul  followed  meekly,  saying  he  was  very 
sorry,  shaking  hands,  and  assuring  us  that 
"  Todd  meant  well !  " 

This  episode  settled  the  question  of  our 
stay  at  'Mpanda's  much  more  expeditiously 
than  would  otherwise  have  been  the  case, 
and  the  very  next  day  we  set  off  with  Dr. 
Glanville  to  Nevez  Fereira,  a  Portuguese 
camp  about  six  miles  distant.  A  trader, 
called  Madeira,  who  lived  there  was  said  to 
have  great  influence  with  the  natives.  He 
would  perhaps  procure  bearers  for  us.  But, 
unfortunately ;  although  Madeira  was  ex- 
tremely civil,  and  gave  us  a  capital  luncheon  ; 
he  declared  that  he  could  no  longer  obtain 
natives  even  for  himself. 

Lieutenant  Pedro  Alvarez,  acting  Com- 
mandante  at  'Mpanda's,  joined  us  at 
luncheon.  Like  all  the  Portuguese  we 
met  in  Africa,  he  had  been  most  kind  to  us. 
Ever  since  our  arrival  at  'Mpanda's  he  had 


kept  us  supplied  with  bread,  game,  and  any- 
other  luxury  which  found  its  way  to  his 
camp.  We  met  a  Portuguese  army-doctor, 
too,  and  after  luncheon  he  took  us  to  see  his 
hospital.  Here  the  sick  were  established  in 
a  hospital  tent  of  the  most  approved  fashion, 
ventilated  on  the  best  principles,  cool  even 
on  that  burning  day.  It  was  beautifully 
kept,  too,  and  was  altogether  a  great  con- 
trast to  the  wretched  grass  hut  which  served 
as  a  hospital  at  'Mpanda's. 

Though  our  tramp  to  Nevez  Fereira  was 
a  failure,  as  far  as  obtaining  bearers  was 
concerned,  we  were  not  cast  down  ;  and  on 
the  way  back  it  was  decided  that  the  next 
day  Wilkins  should  start  off  to  a  kraal  about 
fifty  miles  distant,  and  do  his  utmost  to 
secure  carriers.  He  set  out  early  the  next 
morning  with  a  well-known  explorer  called 
Moodie,  to  whom  all  parts  of  Africa  seemed 
equally  familiar.  The  same  day  Mr.  Walter 
Sutton  joined  our  party,  the  men  he  had 
come  up  with  proving  most  unsatisfactory. 
Late  that  same  evening  the  launch  of  the 


Pigeon  arrived  to  take  Mr.  Jerram  and  Dr. 
Todd  back  to  Beira  the  following  day. 

We  said  good-bye  to  the  Vice -Consul 
with  great  regret.  The  Portuguese  Com- 
mandante  was  much  disgusted  at  his  having 
to  leave.  "Who,"  he  exclaimed,  "am  I  to 
treat  with  now  ?  there  are  only  traders  here 
— with  such  people  I  do  not  speak ! " 
Fortunately  the  "  people "  in  question  did 
not  hear  this  speech,  or  there  would  have 
been  trouble.  As  it  was,  some  foolish  young 
fellows  nearly  created  a  new  Portuguese 
question,  by  hoisting  a  red  pocket  handker- 
chief, with  a  white  elephant  printed  in  the 
centre,  on  the  flagstaff  from  which  the  Consul 
used  to  fly  his  Union  Jack.  The  Com- 
mandante  took  the  foolish  joke  to  mean  an 
insult  to  his  flag,  and  it  was  all  Dr.  Glanville 
could  do  to  pacify  him. 

The  camp  now  became  very  untidy  and 
rowdy ;  and  as  Lieutenant  Pedro  Alvarez 
constantly  urged  our  departure,  we  engaged 
any  likely  boy  we  came  across,  and  resolved 
that  we  would  start  for  the  interior  with  only 


ten  boys,  without  waiting  for  the  return  of 

At  this  juncture  Mr.  Harrison,  a  well- 
known  prospector,  arrived  in  the  camp  from 
Fort  Salisbury.  Hearing  of  our  difficulty,  he 
gave  us  his  own  three  boys,  making  his  way 
to  Beira  as  best  he  could  without  them. 
Those  who  know  anything  of  African  travel 
will  agree  that  a  more  unselfish  act  was 
never  done.  He  also  took  the  trouble  to 
write  out  a  small  vocabulary  of  the  most  use- 
ful words  and  phrases  in  Mashona,  and  drew 
out  a  map  of  the  country — marking  the  best 
halting -places,  the  distances  from  water  to 
water,  and  the  time  we  ought  to  take  in 
getting  from  place  to  place.  Had  his 
presence  at  the  coast  been  less  urgently 
needed,  he  would  have  turned  back  and 
escorted  us  to  Umtali.  Mr.  Harrison  was 
emphatically  a  friend  in  need. 

Having  now  nine  boys,  we  resolved  to 
start  on  Tuesday,  the  30th  of  June.  We 
spent  the  morning  of  the  29th  in  packing, 
dividing  the  provisions  into  loads  of  forty 

1 16  ADVENTURES  chap. 

pounds  each,  having  been  told  that  this  was 
the  correct  weight.  Then  tired,  hungry,  but 
hopeful,  we  sat  down  to  luncheon. 

Suddenly  a  crowd  of  natives  presented 
themselves  at  the  entrance  of  our  tent.  As 
we  gazed  at  them  in  wonder,  their  ranks 
opened,  and  there,  in  the  centre,  stood 
Wilkins,  leaning  on  his  gun  and  enjoying 
our  surprise.  The  hero  of  melodrama  does 
not  achieve  a  more  effective  entrance !  For 
quite  five  minutes  Wilkins  refused  to  do 
more  than  wave  his  hand  towards  his 
followers,  and  repeat  in  a  sepulchral  voice, 
"I'm  here."  At  last  we  persuaded  him  to 
come  in  and  have  some  luncheon,  leaving 
the  natives  to  squat  outside. 

Gradually  Dr.  Glanville  broke  to  him  the 
fact  that  he  proposed  leaving  the  next  day, 
but  that  he  expected  Wilkins  to  remain 
behind  in  charge  of  the  stores. 

I  think  the  poor  old  man  nearly  went  out 
of  his  mind  with  mortified  vanity.  He 
wandered  about  unpacking  everything,  taking 
out  food-stuffs,  and  filling  up  the  loads  with 


saucepan  lids.  Sister  Lucy  and  I  consulted 
together,  and  came  to  the  conclusion  that  the 
best  thing  to  do  was  to  leave  him  quite 
alone ;  and,  in  fact,  after  a  great  deal  of 
noise  and  confusion,  he  retired  to  his  tent 
and  went  to  sleep. 

Just  then  a  man-of-war's  launch  puffed  up 
to  the  landing-place,  bringing  the  new  Vice- 
Consul,  Lieutenant  Robertson  of  the  Brisk, 
who  presently  came  to  our  tent,  and  offered 
us  a  large  supply  of  oranges  for  the  road. 
He  was  very  cheery  about  our  enterprise, 
declaring  that  though  difficult,  and  even 
hazardous,  it  was  feasible,  and  he  felt  sure 
we  should  carry  it  through  successfully. 
These  were  the  first  hopeful  words  we  had 
heard  on  the  subject,  and  they  did  us  a 
world  of  good. 

By  the  following  day  the  wrath  of  Wilkins 
had  subsided,  but  now  a  fresh  difficulty  arose. 
Dr.  Doyle  Glanville  asked,  who  had  money  ? 
"This,"  he  said,  throwing  two  sovereigns 
on  the  table,  "  is  all  the  money  I  possess." 
We    nurses    had    about    ^"14    between    us. 

n8     ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND  chap,  hi 

There  were  between  thirty -five  and  forty- 
carriers  ;  nearly  £^o  had  to  be  divided 
between  them  before  they  would  stir. 
Neither  the  Doctor  nor  Wilkins  had  any 
authority  from  the  Bishop  to  borrow  money, 
and  no  one  in  camp  would  lend  it  on  their 
word.  Wilkins  had  given  most  of  his  ready 
money  to  Dr.  Knight  Bruce,  and  could  only 
spare  a  small  sum.  The  situation  was  very 
uncomfortable  ;  but  in  our  emergency  Lieu- 
tenant Robertson  came  to  our  aid,  lent  Dr. 
Glanville  ^20,  and  enabled  us  to  depart. 


The  start — A  "  dug-out " — Missing  load — A  kraal — Native 
funeral — On  the  road — Another  kraal  —  Lions — A 
Portuguese  breakfast — No  water — Captain  Winslow — 
We  meet  two  white  men — Honey-birds — Lions  again 
— Sarmento — A  native  hunt — Trouble  with  carriers — 
Forced  march — Masse-Kesse — We  lose  our  way — 
Illness  of  Sister  Aimde — At  last  Umtali — The  Bishop. 

We  left  'Mpanda's  about  three  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon,  intending  to  stay  a  few  miles  out 
of  the  camp,  so  as  to  start  on  our  walk  early 
the  next  morning,  the  ist  of  July.  Our 
departure  had  been  delayed  in  many  ways. 
The  carriers  became  troublesome ;  some 
rushed  off  to  the  canteen  to  drink,  others 
refused  to  take  up  their  loads.  At  last  we 
three,  with  Dr.  Glanville  and  seven  boys, 
started  off,  accompanied  for  the  first  mile 
or  two  by  the  Consul,  Mr.  Robertson,  the 
Portuguese  Commandante,  and  one  or  two 


other  men.  Mr.  Sutton  remained  behind 
to  drive  on  the  other  boys.  After  about 
an  hour's  walking  we  said  farewell  to  our 
friends,  and  pushed  on  alone, — not  for  long, 
however,  as  the  Consul  came  running  after 
us  to  say  we  were  on  the  wrong  path.  We 
had  to  retrace  our  steps  for  a  long  way. 

By  this  time  the  sun  was  getting  low  in 
the  heavens.  In  Africa  when  the  sun  sets, 
it  gets  dark  almost  immediately,  there  being 
hardly  any  twilight.  We  were  therefore 
very  glad  to  find  ourselves  once  more  on 
the  right  path,  and,  soon  after,  we  met  Mr. 
Sutton,  who  had  turned  back  to  look  for  us. 
He  told  us  we  should  have  to  cross  the 
Pungwe,  to  get  to  the  kraal  where  we  meant 
to  make  our  first  encampment.  It  was 
almost  dark  when  we  reached  the  river, 
where  we  found  our  carriers  and  their  loads 
waiting  their  turn  to  cross.  This  took  a 
long  time,  there  being  only  one  little  canoe, 
or  "  dug-out,"  paddled  by  a  curious  shrivelled- 
up  old  native.  The  "dug-out"  is  made 
from    the    trunk  of  a    tree  with   the   inside 


scooped  out.  We  three  got  into  it,  sitting 
very  carefully  on  the  edges,  there  being  no 
seats,  or  even  sticks  laid  across,  and  it  was 
too  narrow  to  admit  of  our  sitting  at  the 
bottom.  We  were  in  mortal  terror,  and 
almost  afraid  to  breathe,  for  the  least  move- 
ment upsets  these  frail  little  barks,  and  the 
river,  as  we  knew,  swarmed  with  crocodiles. 
It  was  a  great  relief  to  be  on  terra  firma 
again,  and  to  watch  the  rest  of  our  party 

Night  had  quite  set  in  by  this  time ;  and 
the  shadowy  line  of  carriers,  standing  at 
the  water's  edge,  looked  strange  and  unreal. 
On  a  high  bank  above  the  river  we  found  a 
small  kraal,  where  we  began  to  make  pre- 
parations for  the  night. 

A  kraal  is  a  native  village,  composed  of 
either  many  or  few  huts,  in  shape  like  bee- 
hives, into  which  you  literally  crawl  on  hands 
and  knees.  The  huts  are  made  with  a 
framework  of  wood,  the  roof  covered  with 
grass,  and  the  sides  plastered  with  mud. 
The  floor   also    is  mud,    but  beaten  into  a 

122  ADVENTURES  chap. 

smooth,  hard  surface.  The  ground  outside 
the  huts  is  also  beaten  into  this  same  hard 

Supper  was  the  first  thing  to  prepare,  but 
could  not  be  achieved  without  lights.  We 
hunted  through  all  our  bundles,  but  could 
discover  no  candles  or  lanterns.  To  our 
dismay  we  found  the  boy  who  had  charge  of 
this  load  to  be  missing.  There  was  nothing 
to  be  done,  then,  but  make  the  best  of  it. 
Our  boys  lighted  a  fire  of  mealie  stalks  and 
dried  reeds,  there  being  no  wood  anywhere 
near.  It  was  not  a  very  good  fire,  for  reeds 
only  flare  up  for  a  short  time,  smoulder  away, 
and  give  no  heat.  We  ate  a  hasty  supper  of 
corned  beef  and  biscuits  with  a  little  coffee ; 
rolled  ourselves  in  our  blankets,  with  a  water- 
proof sheet  spread  over  us ;  and  tried  to 
sleep  by  the  fire.  To  keep  it  going  we  had 
to  sacrifice  a  wooden  box,  and  the  two  men 
undertook  to  replenish  it,  but  Dr.  Glanville 
fell  asleep  at  his  post.  If  it  had  not  been 
for  Sister  Aimee,  who  acted  as  stoker,  we 
should  have  come  off  very  badly.     All  night 


long  we  heard  the  roar  of  lions  in  the  dis- 
tance, and  every  now  and  then  the  weird  cry 
of  the  hyaenas,  which  prowled  and  rustled  in 
the  mealie  field.  Towards  morning  we  were 
roused  from  troubled  sleep  by  frightful  yells 
and  lamentations,  a  sort  of  dismal  chant 
broken  by  long  sobbing  wails.  It  was 
really  a  blood-curdling  sound,  and  for  some 
moments  we  were  afraid  to  move  or  speak. 
At  last,  seeing  that  our  natives  were  paying 
little  or  no  attention  to  it,  we  made  inquiries, 
and  found  that  one  of  the  inhabitants  of  the 
kraal  had  just  died,  and  that  his  people  were 
keening  over  him,  much  as  mourners  do  in 
Ireland.  As  we  got  up  we  were  requested 
to  retire  to  a  distant  corner  of  the  kraal,  and 
not  to  cross  the  path  along  which  the  body 
was  to  be  carried.  It  was  borne  away  in  a 
very  ingenious  sort  of  wicker  -  work  coffin, 
made  of  reeds  and  rushes. 

After  some  little  trouble  we  secured  a 
pail  of  water,  retired  into  the  mealies,  and 
made  a  rapid  toilet,  whilst  the  men  boiled 
some  cocoa.     When  we  had  partaken  of  this 


we  could  do  nothing  but  wait  patiently  till 
our  missing  boy  and  his  load  had  been  found 
— we  had  been  obliged  to  send  a  runner  back 
to  'Mpanda's  to  hunt  him  up.  Our  diffi- 
culties were  a  good  deal  increased  by  the 
fact  that  neither  Dr.  Glanville  nor  Mr. 
Sutton  could  speak  a  word  of  the  language. 
We  three  knew  only  just  enough  to  ask  for 
water,  or  a  fire,  or  one  or  two  other  things. 
Again  it  was  Sister  Aimee  who  saved  the 
situation  by  being  able  to  talk  Portuguese. 
We  found  to  our  joy  that  three  or  four 
of  our  carriers  were  Portuguese  speaking 
natives,  so  these  boys  acted  as  interpreters 
between  us  and  the  other  natives. 

It  was  quite  ten  o'clock  before  we  could 
make  a  real  start ;  however,  once  off,  we  did 
a  good  day's  march  over  rough,  uninteresting 
ground.  We  halted  for  a  few  minutes  every 
hour  or  so,  walking  on  these  Kaffir  paths 
being  very  tiring.  They  are  so  narrow,  and 
the  grass  on  either  side  so  tall,  that  there 
might  easily  be  a  number  of  people  a  few 
yards   in   front  of  you,   and  yet  you  might 


walk  for  hours  quite  unaware  of  their 

At  the  first  large  kraal  that  we  came  to, 
all  the  village  turned  out  to  look  at  us,  we 
being  the  first  white  women  they  had  seen. 
They  presented  us  with  a  large  jar  of 
"chuali,"  or  native  beer,  which  our  carriers 
drank,  and  in  return  we  gave  them  some 
beads.  It  is  not  considered  etiquette  to  pass 
through  any  of  these  native  villages  without 
giving  the  chief  a  present  of  some  kind — 
a  few  u  beads  "  or  a  stretch  of  "  limbo  "  will 
do.  A  stretch  is  measured  by  holding  out 
both  arms  as  far  as  you  can,  and  measuring 
from  finger-tip  to  finger-tip.  Roughly  speak- 
ing, one  gives  about  two  yards.  With  this 
we  could  buy  a  good  deal  of  meal  from 
natives,  who  preferred  it  to  money. 

Soon  after  we  left  this  kraal  we  found  the 
path  very  rough,  and  the  walking  difficult  ; 
the  heat  also  became  intense ;  and,  being 
unused  to  marching,  we  began  to  get  very 
weary.  At  about  three  o'clock  we  came  to 
another    large    village,    and    found,    to   our 

126  AD  VENTURES  chap. 

regret,  that  the  natives  would  go  no  farther, 
and  that  we  should  have  to  spend  the  night 
there.  These  kraals  are  very  dirty  and 
noisy.  After  a  delightful  bath  in  the 
Pungw6,  during  which  we  kept  in  shallow 
water  looking  out  for  crocodiles,  we  felt 
much  revived,  and  set  to  work  and  cooked 
quite  a  splendid  dinner  of  eggs  and  fowl 
procured  from  the  natives.  Our  boys  made 
a  sort  of  "lean-to"  with  a  few  poles,  grass, 
and  their  loads.  We  had  a  fairly  good 
night,  but  found  the  ground  very  hard ;  and 
the  lions  were  so  near,  that  we  could  hear 
the  pig-like  grunt  they  make  when  they  are 
hunting.  By  this  time  we  were  so  accus- 
tomed to  them  that  we  were  much  less 
terrified  of  them,  and  almost  began  to  look 
upon  them  as  bores  that  kept  one  awake 
when  one  was  sleepy. 

The  next  morning  we  got  off  fairly  early. 
The  men  were  very  lazy,  and  we  had  to 
rouse  them  always,  get  breakfast  ready,  and 
start  the  camp.  Our  path  led  us  across 
the   Pungwe    again,   but  this  time  we  were 


each  carried  over  on  the  shoulders  of  two 
boys,  the  ford  not  being  deep.  The  other 
boys  plunged  in,  making  a  great  noise, 
shouting,  and  beating  the  water,  to  frighten 
away  the  crocodiles.  A  Portuguese  hut  was 
built  on  the  opposite  bank,  and  here  an 
agent  of  the  Mozambique  Company  lived. 
Like  all  Portuguese  he  was  extremely  kind 
and  courteous,  and  gave  us  an  excellent 
breakfast.  After  leaving  the  hut  we  had 
a  long  march  of  about  fifteen  miles  without 
water.  The  track  crossed  a  burnt-up  plain, 
and  then  lost  itself  in  a  long  stretch  of  loose 
sand,  where  at  every  step  forward  one 
seemed  to  slip  two  back.  Trying  as  it  is 
to  walk  through  grass  that  is  ten  feet  high, 
coarse,  strong,  slashing  your  face  as  you 
push  your  way  through,  we  were  glad  when 
we  came  to  patches  of  it,  because  of  the 
slender  shade  it  afforded.  Like  all  novices 
at  such  work,  we  had,  early  in  the  day, 
impatiently  drained  the  water  bottles.  Then 
came  some  hours  during  which  we  suffered 
considerably  from  thirst  before  we  reached 


any  water.  This  we  did  late  in  the  after- 
noon, when  we  came  upon  some  rude 
bamboo  huts  beside  a  dismal  swamp.  Cap- 
tain Winslow,  of  H.M.S.  Brisk,  whom  we 
met  shortly  after  leaving  the  Portuguese 
hut,  had  slept  there  the  night  before,  and 
had  had  one  of  the  huts  cleaned  out,  so 
that,  after  the  floor  was  covered  with  a  pile 
of  fresh  grass,  we  found  it  very  comfortable. 
In  the  other  shelter  a  young  Englishman 
was  dining.  We  confiscated  his  coffee,  drink- 
ing it  up  in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye.  No 
coffee  has  ever  tasted  or  ever  could  taste 
like  that.  We  longed  for  water,  but  dared 
not  touch  it  till  it  had  been  boiled.  Even 
when  made  into  tea  it  tasted  of  swamp. 
This  young  Englishman,  whose  coffee  we 
absorbed,  was  on  his  way  up  country.  He 
seemed  to  have  suffered  a  good  deal  from 
fever,  and  was  even  then  light-headed.  The 
friend  who  was  travelling  with  him  had 
followed  a  honey-bird,  and  soon  came  back 
to  the  hut  with  the  honey  in  a  sort  of  palm- 
leaf  basket.     The  honey- bird  is   a   curious 


little  creature,  something  like  a  water-wag- 
tail. It  comes  fluttering  about  a  man  till 
he  follows  it,  and  then  it  leads  him  to  some 
hollow  tree,  or  cleft  in  a  rock,  which  is  full 
of  honey.  It  seems  to  know  that,  without 
the  help  of  man,  it  cannot  obtain  the  spoil 
it  covets.  When  the  combs  are  rifled,  one 
is  always  left  for  the  little  feathered  guide  ; 
otherwise,  the  natives  say,  it  will  never 
again  lead  anyone  to  a  bees'  nest.  We 
saw  numbers  of  these  honey -birds,  but  of 
course  could  not  follow  them. 

The  night  spent  in  this  shelter  might 
have  been  passed  outside  a  lion's  cage  in 
the  Zoo.  The  lions,  coming  down  to  drink 
at  the  swampy  pool  just  in  front  of  our  huts, 
made  such  a  terrific  noise  that  the  earth 
seemed  to  shake  with  their  roaring.  It  was 
a  strange  sensation  to  find  ourselves  so  near 
all  these  wild  creatures,  with  not  even  the 
slenderest  door  or  mat  to  shut  them  out  of 
our  hut.  In  the  morning  the  spoor  of  an 
elephant  was  seen,  which  the  young  fellow 
who  had  followed  the  honey-bird   spoored, 


and  shot  a  few  hours  later.  His  name  was 
Carrick,  one  of  our  model  patients  later  on 
at  Umtali,  and  still  a  valued  friend. 

The  next  morning  we  were  up  at  the 
dawn  of  day,  reaching  Sarmento  early  in 
the  afternoon.  Our  path  lay  through  a 
beautiful  park -like  country,  with  big  trees 
dotted  about,  and  here  and  there  great 
clumps  of  palm-trees.  We  passed  many 
herd  of  game,  great  buffaloes  quietly  grazing, 
who  stood  and  looked  at  us,  but  hardly  took 
the  trouble  to  move  out  of  our  way,  and 
troops  of  every  kind  of  deer — wildebeest, 
hartebeest,  water-buck,  etc.  The  men  who 
were  with  us  evidently  knew  little  about 
shooting.  Several  futile  attempts  were  made 
to  get  a  buck,  but  the  guns  either  went  off 
unexpectedly,  or  else  refused  to  go  off  at 
all.  The  natives,  who  are  very  keen  sports- 
men, lost  all  patience,  threw  down  their 
bundles,  and  proceeded  to  hunt  a  buffalo  on 
their  own  account,  and  succeeded  in  killing 
him  with  their  assegais  after  some  little  time. 
Then,  covered  with  blood,  they  trotted  after 


us  to  Sarmento,  with  great  lumps  of  gory 
flesh  tied  on  to  their  bundles.  The  Bishop's 
bag,  containing  his  robes,  was  not  spared, 
and  his  spotless  lawn  was  deeply  stained. 

Sarmento  is  nearly  forty-five  miles  from 
'Mpanda's  ;  we  reached  it  in  about  two  days 
and  a  half.  It  was  not  such  bad  walking 
as  English  people  might  think.  Time  must 
be  allowed  for  fording  streams,  and  getting 
through  swamps  and  long  grass ;  and  the 
great  heat  must  also  be  taken  into  account. 
Like  most  Portuguese  villages,  Sarmento 
was  very  dirty,  but  it  is  a  lovely  spot, 
situated  on  a  high  plateau,  embedded  in 
trees,  with  the  broad  Pungwe  rushing  below, 
dashing  over  great  rocks,  with  trees  droop- 
ing over  the  water.  We  found  the  Portu- 
guese extremely  civil.  Mr.  Almaida,  the 
Mozambique  Company's  agent,  kindly  placed 
his  own  hut  at  our  disposal,  sending  us  wine, 
eggs,  candles,  etc.,  and  doing  all  he  could 
to  make  us  comfortable. 

The  next  day  we  were  off  betimes,  all 
much  refreshed  by  the  rest.     We  began  now 

132  ADVENTURES  chap. 

to  feel  a  little  uneasy  about  our  carriers,  for 
we  knew  that  their  own  kraal  lay  somewhere 
near  at  hand.  We  had  been  warned  that  we 
should  experience  no  little  difficulty  in  getting 
them  past  this  place.  They  left  Sarmento 
at  a  tremendous  pace,  with  a  good  deal  of 
singing  and  shouting.  About  ten  o'clock 
we  arrived  at  a  large  kraal,  and  here,  to  our 
consternation,  the  bearers  insisted  on  staying 
all  day.  It  was  their  own  home,  and  no 
inducement  could  tear  them  away.  The 
wily  "induna,"  or  captain,  hid  in  the  woods, 
and  could  not  be  found  till  nightfall.  So 
we  had  to  spend  the  interval  as  best  we 
could,  bathing  in  the  river,  and  wandering 
in  the  wood. 

All  the  men  and  women  in  this  village 
came  and  scraped  their  feet  against  the 
ground  in  front  of  us  —  a  native  mode  of 
salutation — and  we  gave  the  usual  present 
of  beads  or  limbo.  Then  there  came  some 
very  old  women  with  baskets  of  lovely  white 
meal,  which  they  laid  at  Sister  Aimee's  feet. 
This,    I    believe,    is   considered    rather    an 


unusual  honour,  for  as  a  rule  the  natives 
are  very  chary  of  giving  away  meal,  which 
constitutes  their  principal  food.  Towards 
dusk  the  chief  reappeared  and  demanded 
blankets  for  all  his  boys.  Dr.  Glanville 
became  very  angry  and  drove  him  off.  In 
consequence  of  this  we  had  a  sleepless  night. 
For  the  Doctor  and  Mr.  Sutton  —  being 
afraid  the  boys  would  not  only  run  away, 
but  might  attack  us — sat  up  all  night  with 
loaded  guns,  a  demonstration  not  a  little 
alarming  to  us,  considering  that  neither  of 
them  appeared  to  know  much  about  fire- 
arms. However,  nothing  happened,  but  the 
next  morning  the  induna  came  with  his  men, 
and  laid  all  the  money  received  from  us  down 
at  Sister  Aimee's  feet,  declaring  they  would 
go  no  farther.  After  a  very  long  talk  they 
consented  to  proceed  on  condition  of  re- 
ceiving extra  blankets  at  Masse- Kesse.  The 
fact  that  none  of  us  could  talk  to  them  in 
their  own  language  left  us  at  a  great  dis- 
advantage. The  whole  party  depending  on 
Sister  Aimee's    small    knowledge  of  Portu- 


guese,  we  could  not  feel  sure  that  our 
Portuguese  native  translated  our  wishes 
faithfully.  The  white  men  of  our  party 
lost  much  prestige  with  the  carriers  through 
being  unable  to  give  them  any  orders. 
These  wild  natives  do  not  understand  beine 
commanded  by  women,  who  as  a  rule 
represent  to  them  nothing  but  the  chief 
domestic  animal,  intended  only  for  hewing 
wood,  carrying  water,  grinding  corn,  and 
so  on. 

Once  off,  the  boys  went  splendidly  through 
a  lovely  bit  of  country,  full  of  tall  palms, 
banana  trees,  and  great  groves  of  feathery 
bamboos.  Pretty  as  it  was  we  were  anxious 
to  get  through  it  as  quickly  as  we  could ;  for 
a  white  traveller,  who  had  given  us  a  plan  of 
the  country,  had  written  against  this  place 
two  ominous  words,  "  Ware  lions." 

The  next  two  days  were  wet  and  rather 
miserable.  We  got  soaked  to  the  skin  as 
we  walked  through  the  long,  wet  grass. 
The  boys  too  went  badly,  wanting  to  stop 
at  every  opportunity.     We  had  great  diffi- 


culty  in  starting  them  at  all  in  the  mornings. 
We  could  not  get  properly  dry  at  night,  for 
the  fires  burnt  badly  on  account  of  the  rain. 
The  rude  grass  shelters  that  the  boys  put 
up  for  us  to  sleep  in  at  night  were  hardly 
water-tight.  Hyaenas  made  night  hideous, 
coming  quite  close  to  our  little  camp.  I 
think  the  shriek  these  animals  utter  is  more 
objectionable  than  the  cry  of  any  other  wild 
beast.  It  fills  one  with  shuddering  horror, 
and  is  more  like  the  wail  of  a  lost  soul  than 
a  mere  earthly  sound. 

We  met  two  white  men  the  next  morning 
returning  to  'M panda's  with  a  letter  from  the 
Bishop,  who  was  terribly  in  want  of  stores. 
This  acted  as  a  kind  of  spur,  and  we  pushed 
on  with  renewed  energy.  Soon  the  sun 
came  out,  and  we  reached  Mandanjiva,  a 
deserted  Portuguese  village,  perfectly  dry, 
and  again  in  good  spirits.  Here  we  had  a 
delightful  bathe  ;  and  tried  to  settle  down  for 
the  night  in  a  dirty,  huge,  barn-like  shelter, 
open  on  all  sides  but  one.  However,  the 
hyaenas    drove  away  sleep   by  their  terrible 


noise,  and  even  went  so  far  as  to  sniff  round 
our  barn.  We  were  not  sorry,  therefore, 
when  morning  dawned,  and  we  could  hasten 
away  from  this  dreary  place. 

Now  the  road  became  dreadful.  There 
were  hours  of  walking  through  grass  ten 
feet  high ;  through  tall  rushes  that  slashed 
one's  face ;  through  small  bogs  and  shallow 
streams  into  which  we  dashed,  boots  and  all, 
much  to  the  delight  of  the  boys,  but  to  the 
horror  of  our  white  escort.  However,  the 
sun  dries  one  almost  at  once,  and  it  saved 
endless  time.  Here  and  there  we  met  un- 
fortunate young  fellows  who  had  had  the 
fever ;  had  tried  to  reach  Fort  Salisbury  ;  but, 
alas  !  had  been  obliged  to  turn  back,  and  were 
then  on  their  way  down  to  the  coast,  ill  and 
half  ruined.  They  gave  us  terrible  accounts 
of  the  state  of  things  up  country,  and  ap- 
peared to  look  on  us  as  half  mad  for 
attempting  to  go  on.  We  gave  them  pro- 
visions, and  sped  them  on  their  way. 

All  went  well  with  us  till  we  reached 
Chimoio,    a    large     kraal    and    Portuguese 


station.  Here  the  Bishop  had  been  nearly 
shot,  being  taken  for  a  Portuguese  officer. 
Mr.  Fiennes,  who  was  commanding  the 
Chartered  Company's  Police,  happily  recog- 
nised him  in  time.  The  Bishop's  arrival 
prevented  a  fight  between  the  Portuguese 
and  Company's  people.  He  told  them  that 
the  convention  between  England  and  Por- 
tugal had  been  signed.  The  kraal  of 
Chimoio  was  situated  in  the  midst  of  a 
lovely  country  with  wooded  hills,  great 
rocks  and  crags  all  round.  The  natives  here 
seemed  much  less  friendly,  and  we  had 
considerable  difficulty  in  buying  a  fowl  from 
them  for  supper.  We  tried  to  obtain  a 
runner  to  send  on  to  Umtali,  to  announce 
our  near  approach  to  the  Bishop,  who 
thought  of  us  as  still  being  at  'Mpanda's  ; 
but  this  we  were  unable  to  do. 

Retiring  to  rest  between  ten  and  eleven, 
we  were  roused  by  our  faithful  Portuguese 
speaking  boys,  with  the  terrible  announce- 
ment that  all  the  carriers  had  fled.  Having 
built    us    a   shelter,    these    four   boys,    who 


proudly  called  themselves  "the  household 
servants,"  had  gone  to  sleep  in  a  little  hut 
close  by.  Waking  to  make  up  the  fire, 
they  had  seen  the  last  of  our  carriers  vanish- 
ing in  the  distance.  Dr.  Glanville  and 
Mr.  Sutton  immediately  started  in  pursuit, 
but  of  course  never  even  caught  a  glimpse  of 
the  fleet  natives.  There  we  were  stranded 
with  four  boys,  seventy  miles  from  Umtali, 
surrounded  by  our  stores  and  no  means  of 
taking  them  with  us !  It  is  bad  enough  for 
men  to  be  abandoned  on  the  veldt :  for 
women,  of  course,  it  was  worse. 

At  first  we  felt  rather  miserable,  but 
lamentations  were  useless.  What  was  to  be 
done  ?  that  was  the  question.  A  council 
was  held,  and  it  was  decided  that  Dr. 
Glanville,  ourselves,  and  three  boys,  should 
push  on  to  Umtali,  leaving  Mr.  Sutton  with 
one  boy  to  look  after  the  stores  till  we  could 
send  and  rescue  him.  After  this  was  settled 
we  composed  ourselves  as  best  we  could  for 
the  few  remaining  hours  that  were  left  before 
daylight.     A   few   necessaries   were    hastily 


packed — we  left  most  of  our  blankets  behind 
us — and  with  three  days'  biscuits,  beef,  and 
tea,  set  out  for  Umtali  on  the  4th  of  July. 
Just  as  we  were  leaving  the  village  we  came 
across  a  camp  of  white  men,  who  had  arrived 
during  the  night,  and  who  proceeded  to 
Umtali  a  few  hours  after  ourselves.  They 
all  turned  out  to  stare  at  us,  saying  it  was 
wonderful  we  should  have  got  so  far,  but 
shaking  their  heads  at  the  idea  of  our  reach- 
ing Umtali  in  four  days'  time.  Defying 
their  predictions,  we  went  on,  and  kept  up  a 
really  good  pace  all  day,  halting  for  the  night 
in  a  lovely  wood,  where  we  had  a  delicious 
bath  in  an  ice-cold  mountain  stream.  We 
found  the  ground  somewhat  hard,  having  so 
few  blankets,  but  in  spite  of  this  we  passed  a 
tolerably  good  night. 

The  next  morning  we  made  an  early  start, 
and  after  about  an  hour's  walk  found  our- 
selves in  a  terrible  swamp.  The  boys  and 
their  loads  got  through  with  difficulty,  and 
then  came  back  to  carry  us  over  the  worst 
places,  into  which  they  sank  sometimes  above 

140  ADVENTURES  chap. 

their  waists.  It  was  an  unpleasant  experience, 
some  of  these  bogs  being  like  quicksands, 
swallowing  unfortunate  people  alive.  We 
heard  afterwards  that  two  boys  had  been  lost 
there  that  year.  However,  we  all  got 
through  safely,  and  went  on  climbing  over 
mountain  sides,  even  wading  through  deep 
streams  so  as  not  to  wear  out  our  three 
already  heavily-laden  boys  by  making  them 
carry  us  across.  At  nightfall  we  found  our- 
selves outside  Masse- Kesse.  We  were  told 
that  this  walk  from  Chimoio  to  Masse- Kesse 
was  then  the  quickest  on  record,  so  we  were 
inclined  to  give  ourselves  great  airs,  as  of 
"  African  travellers."  However,  we  cer- 
tainly seemed  to  have  got  over  the  ground 
more  quickly  than  the  average  man  did  in 
those  early  days,  which  was  very  creditable. 

Just  before  reaching  Masse- Kesse  we 
met  a  Mr.  Paterson.  He  too  brought  us  a 
note  from  the  Bishop,  in  which  he  said  how 
much  he  should  like  to  see  us,  but  how  im- 
possible it  seemed  to  get  us  up  to  our  des- 
tination.    Mr.  Paterson  was  much  astonished 


to  see  us  with  only  three  boys,  no  tents,  no 
machilas — in  fact,  it  was  difficult  to  make  him 
believe  that  we  were  alone,  and  had  not  a 
trail  of  carriers  somewhere  behind  in  the 

Masse-Kesse  was  a  red  earth  fort,  stand- 
ing on  a  small  eminence  in  the  midst  of 
lovely  surroundings.  I  believe  this  fort  was 
well  built,  and  imagined  as  a  defence  against 
natives,  but  it  could  be  of  no  use  against 
Europeans.  As  we  saw  it,  the  walls  were 
partly  battered  down,  and  over  the  great  en- 
trance there  still  remained  a  big  V.  R.,  which 
the  English  had  put  up  and  the  Portuguese 
had  not  removed.  The  country  round  was 
lovely.  On  the  horizon  one  saw  a  semicircle 
of  mountains,  the  nearer  ones  wooded  to  the 
summit ;  whilst  beyond  one  caught  a  glimpse 
of  blue,  rocky  peaks  melting  away  into  the 
distance.  The  plain  was  covered  with  tall 
waving  grass,  and  it  was  only  on  closer  in- 
spection that  one  saw  how  rank  and  coarse 
it  was.  At  a  distance  it  might  fairly  well 
have    been    taken    for   corn-fields    or   hay- 


meadows  before  the  harvest.  I  have  been 
told  that  hundreds  of  years  ago  monks 
lived  at  Masse- Kesse,  who  planted  orange 
trees  and  lemon  groves,  the  fruit  of  which 
we  still  eat  in  this  nineteenth  century  of 

We  found  the  Commandante  at  Masse- 
Kesse  exceedingly  civil ;  which  was  more 
than  we  had  any  right  to  expect,  considering 
how  the  Portuguese  had  been  treated  by  the 
English.  He  kindly  sent  one  of  his  own 
boys  over  to  Umtali,  a  distance  of  eighteen 
miles,  to  warn  the  Bishop  of  our  very  un- 
expected arrival.  We  hoped  by  this  means 
to  save  him  from  inconvenience. 

After  quitting  the  fort  we  lost  our  way,  and 
had  to  encamp  in  a  wood  early  in  the  after- 
noon, whilst  our  boys  went  to  a  kraal  some 
miles  distant  to  obtain  what  information  they 
could  about  the  way  to  Umtali.  The  next 
day  we  set  off  early,  and  hoped  to  reach  our 
destination  after  a  few  hours'  walking.  We 
were  obliged  to  make  a  forced  march,  because 
our  provisions  had  run  short.      There  was 


indeed  nothing  left  but  a  little  tea  and  half 
a  pot  of  bovril. 

This  was  the  hardest  day  of  all.  A  bad 
rocky  path  ;  hill  after  hill  to  climb  ;  valleys 
and  ravines  to  cross;  burning  heat;  and,  worst 
of  all,  for  some  hours  we  could  find  no  water. 
Even  the  boys,  who  seem  made  of  iron,  began 
to  lag.  As  to  Sister  Aim6e  she  looked  half 
dead.  I  was  terribly  anxious  about  her, 
feeling  sure  she  must  have  fever,  for,  as  I 
took  her  hand,  her  skin  seemed  to  burn  me. 
When  we  did  finally  reach  Umtali  her  tem- 
perature was  1050.  Those  of  my  readers 
who  have  had  even  a  slight  touch  of  fever 
will  know  better  than  I  can  tell  them  what 
she  must  have  suffered,  whilst  forcing  herself 
along  in  that  condition.  At  last  we  came  to 
a  small  stream,  where  we  bathed  our  faces, 
rinsing  out  our  mouths,  as  we  did  not  dare 
to  drink  much  in  our  heated  state.  Much 
refreshed,  we  longed  to  light  a  fire  and  make 
some  bovril,  but  there  was  no  wood  to  be 
found  anywhere  near,  so  we  had  to  go  on. 
After  another  couple  of  hours'  walking,  we 


came  to  a  larger  stream  in  a  grove  of 
bananas,  and  here  we  halted  and  made 
some  soup.  This  reviving  us  somewhat, 
we  felt  able  to  make  a  fresh  effort.  Then 
there  were  more  hills  to  climb,  more  valleys 
and  ravines  to  cross,  interspersed  with  long 
stretches  of  tall  grass,  which  after  a  time 
had  a  most  bewilderingly  dizzy  effect.  At 
last,  towards  sunset,  Dr.  Glanville  descried 
a  distant  flag — Umtali !  The  sight  of  that 
flag  gave  us  new  spirit.  We  now  felt  sure 
we  were  on  the  right  road,  which  before  had 
seemed  very  doubtful, — our  Portuguese  boy 
never  being  able  to  say  anything  more  re- 
assuring than,  "  It  appears  that  it  may  be 
the  right  road ;  it  appears  that  it  may  not 
be."  Half  an  hour's  quick  marching  brought 
us  to  a  small  river.  As  Sister  Aimee  was 
scrambling  over  a  fallen  tree,  which  served 
as  a  bridge,  a  hand  was  suddenly  stretched 
out  to  help  her.  It  was  the  Bishop !  He 
looked  extremely  well,  and  welcomed  us 
warmly.  He  had  only  received  our  note  an 
hour  or  two  before,  and  was  preparing  his 


hut  for  us.  He  was  horrified  to  find  Sister 
Aimee  so  ill ;  indeed,  by  this  time  it  was  all 
we  could  do  to  get  her  up  the  steep  hill,  on 
the  top  of  which  the  Bishop  was  then  stay- 
ing. To  my  great  joy  I  found  I  could  give 
her  half  a  cup  of  milk,  this  being  the  first 
time  for  many  weeks  that  we  had  seen  fresh 
milk.  The  next  few  days  passed  like  a 
horrible  nightmare.  Fever  even  when  one 
has  every  convenience  is  unpleasant  enough. 
But  a  bad  attack  in  the  wilds  of  Africa,  with 
nothing  to  mitigate  it,  only  the  hard  earth  to 
lie  on,  and  insufficient  blankets,  is  something 
not  easily  forgotten.  For  many  days  Sister 
Aimee  gave  us  cause  for  grave  anxiety,  but 
as  soon  as  she  had  turned  the  corner  she 
quickly  recovered. 


Sabi  Ophir — Illness  of  Dr.  Glanville — Dr.  Lichfield — 
Lieutenant  Eustace  Fiennes — No  boots — High  prices 
— Maquaniqua  the  queen — Arrival  of  Mr.  Sutton — 
Holy  Communion  —  Captain  Heany — Sad  death  of 
Dr.  Glanville — Site  of  the  Mission  farm — Appearance 
of  Colonel  Pennefather. 

The  huts  in  which  we  were  now  established 
belonged  to  a  Mr.  Campion,  the  manager  of 
the  Sabi  Ophir  Mining  Company.  They 
were  square  and  small.  We  three  nurses 
occupied  one,  which  had  been  rudely  divided 
into  two  ;  Mr.  Campion  a  still  smaller  one  ; 
the  Bishop  a  third.  Dr.  Glanville  was  ac- 
commodated in  a  tent.  The  encampment 
was  perched  on  the  top  of  a  steep,  rocky  hill, 
and  in  the  space  in  front  of  the  huts  an 
enormous  tree  of  the  fig  species  spread  forth 
its  branches.  This  was  the  only  large  tree 
in  the  whole  district,  and   Sabi   Ophir   Hill 


chap,  v  ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND       147 

was  known  to  the  natives  as  the  "  hill  of  the 
great  tree." 

As  soon  as  Sister  Aimee  was  sufficiently 
recovered  to  admit  of  any  work  being  done 
in  the  hut,  our  host  set  his  boys  to  work,  and 
caused  rude  stretchers  to  be  put  up  for  us. 
These  were  composed  of  a  rough  framework* 
attached  to  poles  driven  into  the  earth,  along 
which  branches  were  tied,  so  as  to  form  a 
rough  kind  of  lattice  work.  Over  this  a  few 
bundles  of  grass  were  laid,  and,  lo !  you  had 
a  bed !  It  was  much  pleasanter  to  sleep  on 
one  of  these  stretchers  than  on  the  floor,  as 
one  could  escape  from  the  ants,  and  in  some 
degree  from  the  rats.  It  was  not,  however, 
the  perfection  of  comfort,  as  one  woke  up 
every  morning  bruised  and  aching,  and 
covered  from  head  to  foot  with  a  neat  im- 
pression of  the  lattice  work  on  which  one 
had  lain.  The  Bishop  had  his  air-bed  with 
him,  and  kindly  lent  it  to  Sister  Aimee  for 
the  days  when  she  was  at  the  worst,  and 
she  found  it  a  great  comfort. 

The  forced  march  from  Chimoio  to  Um- 

148  ADVENTURES  chap. 

tali  had  told  on  Dr.  Glanville,  so  Dr.  Knight 
Bruce  gave  him  two  days'  rest  before  send- 
ing him  back  with  carriers  to  relieve  Mr. 
Sutton.  He  started  on  the  return  journey 
on  Friday,  the  17th  of  July,  but,  to  our  sur- 
prise and  dismay,  he  returned  unexpectedly 
on  the  following  Monday,  in  a  strangely 
exhausted  condition,  and  unable  to  give  any 
account  of  himself.  One  native  was  with  him, 
and  explained  that  "  the  white  man "  had 
fallen  ill,  had  halted  at  a  kraal,  had  sent  the 
carriers  on  to  Chimoio's,  and  had  remained 
lying  down  and  "  talking  foolish "  till  that 
morning.  The  Doctor  was  still  inclined  to 
"  talk  foolish,"  and  was  in  a  very  strange 
condition  both  physically  and  mentally. 

The  Bishop  sent  over  to  the  Police  camp 
for  Dr.  Lichfield,  who  arrived  shortly  after. 
He  pronounced  Dr.  Glanville  to  be  "very 
tired,"  which  was  obvious,  and  ordered  feed- 
ing up  and  rest.  To  rest  was  easy,  to  be 
fed  up  difficult.  We  had  nothing  but  the 
Chartered  Company's  musty  meal  and  fly- 
stricken  ox.     The  latter  luxury  often  failed 


us,  nor  was  it,  at  its  best,  tempting.  Again 
Mr.  Campion  came  to  the  rescue  with  fowls 
and  a  few  eggs,  so  that  in  a  day  or  so  our 
patient  was  sufficiently  improved  to  discuss 
future  plans  with  the  Bishop. 

The  result  of  the  discussion  was  that  Dr. 
Glanville  severed  his  connection  with  the 
Mission,  and,  having  some  acquaintances  in 
the  Police  camp,  appealed  to  them  for  the 
means  of  going  on  to  Salisbury. 

Foremost  amongst  these  friends  was 
Lieutenant  Eustace  Fiennes,  brother  of  the 
present  Lord  Saye  and  Sele,  whom  we  came 
to  regard  as  a  sort  of  special  providence. 
He  saved  us  as  far  as  possible  from  the 
inevitable  difficulties  that  beset  inexperienced 
pioneers  like  ourselves,  and  was  invariably 
kind,  courteous,  and  helpful— to  say  nothing  of 
being  a  very  jolly  young  fellow  and  excellent 
company.  Nothing,  indeed,  could  have  ex- 
ceeded the  kindness  of  both  officers  and  men 
of  the  Chartered  Company's  Police.  We  take 
this  opportunity  of  thanking  them  individu- 
ally and  collectively  for  all  they  did  for  us. 

150  ADVENTURES  chap. 

Meanwhile  we  heard  nothing  about  the 
hospital,  and,  after  waiting  a  little  for  the 
Bishop  to  speak,  we  at  last  asked  him  what 
had  been  settled.  He  said  that  he  had  been 
to  Salisbury,  and,  having  seen  the  Adminis- 
trator, had  decided  not  to  open  a  Mission 
hospital,  but  to  establish  us  in  one  which  the 
Company  would  build.  He  had,  accom- 
panied by  Mr.  Duncan,  the  Surveyor-General, 
chosen  a  spot  near  the  site  of  his  own  Mission 
farm,  and  here  the  Chartered  Company  would 
put  up  wattle  and  daub  buildings  as  soon  as 

For  the  moment  we  could  not  go  and  see 
this  site  ;  for,  having  been  unable  to  bring 
much  luggage  from  Chimoio,  and  hoping 
that  Mr.  Sutton  would  be  able  to  engage 
boys  and  follow  us  immediately,  we  had 
merely  taken  food  and  blankets  with  us. 
We  were  in  consequence  shoeless,  the  last 
three  days  of  rough  and  rapid  marching  hav- 
ing almost  torn  our  boots  off  our  feet,  though 
they  had  been  in  excellent  condition  as  far  as 
Chimoio.     What  I  called  "  boots  "  consisted 


of  a  collection  of  rags  bound  to  my  feet  with 
bandages.  Sisters  Lucy  Sleeman  and  B. 
Welby  were  in  much  the  same  condition. 
We  could  not  explore  the  country,  or  do 
more  than  potter  about  in  front  of  our  huts. 

Just  before  our  arrival  a  trader  had  made 
his  way  to  Umtali  from  Fort  Salisbury.  He 
brought  some  provisions,  but  no  candles. 
At  that  time  of  year  the  sun  sets  at  about 
six  o'clock,  darkness  descends  on  the  earth 
immediately,  and  it  does  not  become  light 
again  till  nearly  seven  in  the  morning.  The 
long  hours  of  darkness,  during  which  we 
lived  in  an  enforced  state  of  idleness,  were 
very  trying.  In  the  Police  camp  "one 
farthing  dip  "  was  sold  for  a  guinea.  Some- 
times this  treasure  was  raffled  for — the  for- 
tunate seller  exacting  money  down,  and  the 
right  to  sit  with  the  candle.  Mr.  Fiennes 
contrived  to  send  us  two  or  three,  which 
were  made  to  last  for  weeks. 

One  morning  a  Mashona  queen,  aunt  of 
MTassa,  the  kinglet  of  Manica,  came  to  see 
us.     She  was  a  powerful  chieftainess,  owning 

152  ADVENTURES  chap. 

sway  over  many  kraals  in  the  valley  watered 
by  the  Revue  river,  and  stretching  away 
from  Umtali  towards  Masse-Kesse.  At  the 
battle  of  Chua,  before  referred  to,  she  brought 
her  natives  to  fight  for  the  Chartered  Com- 
pany, and  led  them  herself;  and  when  they 
ran  away,  as  Mashonas  generally  do,  smashed 
in  with  her  battle-axe  the  heads  of  as  many 
runaways  as  she  could  catch.  She  herself 
remained  under  fire  with  the  utmost  com- 
posure. Her  name  was  Maquaniqua.  The 
"  Queen "  stalked  up  to  the  great  fig-tree 
before  our  door,  and  squatted  under  it,  send- 
ing a  man,  bearing  her  curious  battle-axe  of 
black  wood  elaborately  inlaid  with  brass,  to 
announce  her  arrival  to  us.  Another  native 
brought  presents  to  us.  These  were  some- 
what unworthy  of  a  great  potentate,  consist- 
ing as  they  did  of  a  basket  of  meal,  two  eggs, 
and  six  sweet  potatoes.  It  was  clearly  a 
case  of  accepting  the  will  for  the  deed ! 

Maquaniqua  was  a  fine  specimen  of 
animal  humanity,  with  a  splendid  coarse 
physique,    and    an    ugly,    brutal    face.      She 


accepted  tea,  passing  her  mug,  after  drink- 
ing, to  the  two  men  who  sat  behind  her. 
These  were  two  of  her  husbands.  We  were 
told  that  she  had  several,  whom  she  divorced 
or  knocked  on  the  head  as  seemed  most 
convenient.  Curiously  enough,  in  the  kraals 
governed  by  a  chieftainess  the  other  women 
are  in  a  state  of,  if  possible,  more  abject  sub- 
jection than  when  under  the  rule  of  a  chief. 
The  men  seem  to  revenge  on  their  wives 
the  respect  they  are  forced  to  show  to  their 

Maquaniqua,  at  first  interesting  and  amus- 
ing, soon  became  an  awful  bore.  We  could 
not  get  rid  of  her.  When  the  tea,  jam,  and 
cookies  were  finished,  when  she  had  delivered 
a  message  from  M'Tassa  to  the  effect  that 
the  "  white  women  "  were  welcome,  though 
he  was  too  great  #  personage  to  pay  them  a 
visit,  we  hoped  she  would  go.  Not  at  all ! 
She  demanded  ''fire-water,"  and  was  much 
disappointed  at  not  receiving  any.  Then 
she  took  a  fancy  to  a  bright  tin  plate — all 
our  plates  were  tin,  bright,  new,  and  glitter- 


ing,  therefore  like  silver.  Should  we  sacrifice 
a  precious  plate,  and  so  deliver  ourselves 
from  this  swarthy  incubus  ?  We  consulted 
together,  and  finally  decided  on  presenting 
the  plate,  with  an  intimation  that,  after  so 
splendid  a  present,  the  white  women  would 
not  consider  her  polite  if  she  remained.  One 
of  the  Mission  natives  who  could  speak 
English  interpreted.  Our  intimation  had  the 
desired  effect.  A  German  master  of  the 
ceremonies  is  not  a  greater  stickler  for 
etiquette  than  an  African  chief  or  chief- 
tainess.  As  Maquaniqua  got  up  to  leave, 
her  escort,  clapping  their  hands  in  token  of 
respect,  trotted  away ;  the  chieftainess  strid- 
ing after  them,  having  first  handed  her  plate 
to  one  of  her  husbands  to  carry,  and  giving 
the  other  a  little  packet  of  brown  sugar 
which  she  had  obtained  from  us. 

That  same  day  Mr.  Sutton  arrived  from 
Chimoio,  greatly  to  our  delight.  The  poor  lad 
had  been  very  ill  indeed  with  fever,  and  while 
he  was  lying  in  a  state  of  extreme  exhaustion 
some    white    men    came    into    the    wretched 


shelter  in  which  he  lay,  pronounced  him  to 
be  "doosid  dicky,"  and  not  likely  to  "pull 
out,"  and  forthwith — after  helping  themselves 
to  food,  his  knife,  his  kettle,  and  any  other 
appliance  they  required — left  him  to  his  fate. 
Fortunately  the  carriers  from  Umtali  arrived 
the  next  day,  and  in  a  short  time  he  was  on 
his  legs  again.  He  very  pluckily  set  out  for 
Umtali,  almost  as  soon  as  he  could  stand. 
It  is  astonishing  how  quickly  that  African 
fever  prostrates  a  man,  and  with  what  equal 
rapidity  he  recovers — or  dies — as  the  case 
may  be.  This  is  perhaps  true  only  of  its 
first  attacks.  Later  on,  when  a  man  is 
saturated  with  malaria,  he  seems  unable  to 
shake  off  the  fever.  The  recurrences  are 
slight,  but  persistent,  and  it  is  then  that 
complications  arise  and  health  is  completely 

The  day  after  Mr.  Sutton's  arrival  was 
Sunday,  and  the  Bishop  held  a  celebration. 
We  were  at  our  wit's  end  to  arrange  for  this 
ceremony,  which  was  to  take  place  in  the  hut 
where  the  Bishop  slept,  and  where  there  was 


a  rough  table  made  of  reeds  and  boughs  of 
trees.  With  a  little  white  limbo  we  con- 
trived to  make  this  look  presentable,  but 
there  was  neither  chalice  nor  patten.  What 
were  we  to  do  ?  We  had  one  or  two  battered 
enamelled  tin  mugs  to  drink  out  of,  supple- 
menting deficient  tea-cups  with  empty  cocoa- 
tins.  These,  of  course,  were  not  to  be 
thought  of.  On  our  consulting  the  Bishop, 
he  suggested  that  a  metal  cup  belonging  to  a 
flask  in  which  brown  sugar  used  to  appear 
might  do.  Nothing  else  being  available  we 
turned  out  the  sugar,  polished  the  cup  to  the 
utmost,  and  reluctantly  placed  it  on  the 
improvised  communion  table.  To  such 
straits  is  a  missionary  bishop  sometimes 
reduced ! 

On  Monday  Dr.  Knight  Bruce  left  Sabi 
Ophir  to  go  and  live  at  the  spot  selected  for 
his  farm,  where  he  had  had  some  huts  put  up. 
Mr.  Sutton  accompanied  him,  volunteering 
his  services  till  such  time  as  the  Mission 
could  fill  the  vacancy  left  by  Dr.  Glanville. 
This  gentleman  had  found  a  friend  in  need 


in  the  person  of  Captain  Heany  of  the  Road- 
Making  Company,  better  known  as  the 
leader  of  the  Mashonaland  Pioneers,  whose 
entry  into  the  hitherto  unexplored  country 
had  paved  the  way  for  the  British  South 
Africa  Company's  Police. 

This  pioneer  captain  was  ever  ready  to 
stretch  a  helping  hand  to  those  in  need. 
Indeed,  his  reckless  generosity  finally  some- 
what crippled  his  resources,  which,  though 
large,  were  not  unlimited.  He  hailed  from 
Virginia,  owned  kinship  with  Edgar  Allan 
Poe,  and,  under  the  somewhat  rough  exterior 
of  a  pioneer,  concealed  refined  tastes  and  un- 
expected culture.  He  was,  deservedly,  one 
of  the  most  popular  men  in  Mashonaland. 
To  him  everyone  went  for  help  or  advice  ; 
and,  wherever  he  built  his  hut,  a  rude  village 
was  certain  to  spring  up  in  a  few  days. 
Captain  Heany,  then,  supplied  Dr.  Glanville 
with  food,  money,  and  boys  ;  and  also  pro- 
cured for  him  the  charge  of  Sir  John  Wil- 
loughby's  horses,  which  had  to  be  sent  to 
Salisbury.     By  this  means  it  was  hoped  that 

158  ADVENTURES  chap. 

the  Doctor  would  reach  his  destination  safely, 
without  undue  fatigue. 

He  came  to  bid  us  farewell  before  leaving, 
and  seemed  in  better  health  and  spirits  than 
he  had  been  since  we  left  'Mpanda's.  We 
were  never  destined  to  meet  again,  for  the 
poor  fellow  died  by  the  roadside  within  a  few 
miles  of  Salisbury.  No  white  man  was  with 
him  during  his  last  moments,  nor  is  anything 
known  of  them.  Of  his  three  boys,  two 
remained  with  him.  The  third  went  on  to 
Salisbury  ;  reported  his  death  ;  and  guided 
Dr.  Rand,  of  the  Company's  Police,  and  Mr. 
Hay  to  the  spot.  They  found  that  Dr. 
Glanville  must  have  been  dead  for  more  than 
a  day.  He  lay  rolled  in  his  blankets,  the  boys 
squatting  by  a  fire  at  a  little  distance.  The 
horses  were  tied  up  close  at  hand.  There 
was  no  food  in  the  bundles,  though  he  had  left 
Umtali  well  supplied.  They  buried  him  where 
he  lay,  a  blazed  tree  marking  his  last  resting- 
place.  The  news  of  his  death  did  not  reach 
Umtali  for  a  considerable  time.  Those  were 
not  the  days  of  rapid  communication. 


To  return  to  Manica.  One  of  our  first 
expeditions  was  to  see  the  projected  site  of 
the  hospital — a  distance  of  about  two  miles 
from  Sabi  Ophir  across  the  veldt. 

Descending  from  our  eyrie,  and  crossing 
by  a  slippery  pole  a  rapid  torrent  which 
rushed  at  the  foot  of  the  hill,  we  wound 
along,  passing  beneath  the  height  on  which 
the  Police  camp  was  pitched.  The  Bishop 
was  with  us,  and  he  was  amused  to  see  all 
the  natives  who  were  working  in  the  camp 
tear  madly  down  the  slope  with  a  view  of 
catching  a  glimpse  of  the  "  m'lungas,"  or 
white  women.  Their  masters  rushed  out  too, 
ostensibly  to  recall  their  boys,  but  possibly 
with  a  desire  to  see  what  the  new  importa- 
tions were  like.  I  think  at  that  time  there 
were  over  two  hundred  police  in  Manica,  and 
we  had  only  made  acquaintance  with  a  few  of 

Leaving  the  camp  behind  we  hastened  on 
after  our  guide  ;  crossed  one  or  two  streams 
on  stepping-stones  ;  climbed  a  height  or  two, 
and  at  last  found  ourselves   on  the  summit 


of  a  grassy  slope,  backed  by  towering  rocks 
and  thick  bush,  where  our  huts  were  to  be 
built.  Already  poles  and  grass  for  one  hut 
were  cut  and  ready  for  use. 

The  hill  on  which  we  stood  commanded 
a  splendid  view  of  the  grassy  plains  of  the 
long  narrow  valley,  rolling  away  in  park-like 
stretches,  and  broken  here  and  there  by  a 
clump  of  trees,  or  a  pile  of  gigantic  granite 
boulders  called  "  kopjes."  Though  we  could 
not  catch  the  glint  of  water,  a  long  line  of 
thick,  dwarf  bush,  winding  like  a  serpent 
along  the  valley,  betrayed  the  course  of  the 
river.  Hills,  piled  up  tier  upon  tier — some 
thickly  wooded,  some  bare  and  rocky — shut 
in  the  horizon.  Truly  Manica  is  a  fair  land 
and  a  goodly  heritage,  which  he  who  once 
held  would  be  very  loth  to  let  go,  and  is  well 
worth  a  fight.  African  travellers  declare  it 
to  be  one  of  the  most  beautiful  spots  on  the 
Dark  Continent.  A  sort  of  tropical  Switzer- 
land, its  rich  gold-fields  are  perhaps  the  least 
of  its  attractions.  But  the  dragon  which 
must    be    overcome,    before   its    wealth    and 


beauty  can  be  enjoyed,  is  the  fever,  which 
civilisation  will  soon  make  short  work  of. 
When  the  railway  unites  Manicaland  to  the 
coast,  good  food  and  sufficient  clothing  will 
be  within  reach  of  every  one ;  huts  will  give 
place  to  water-tight  houses;  and  the  long, 
rank  grass  will  vanish  before  the  increasing 
population.  In  those  days  very  little  will  be 
heard  of  malarial  fever,  and  the  Utopian 
dreams  of  farmer  and  miner  will  probably 
be  more  than  realised.  It  is  impossible 
to  travel  through  these  immense  fertile 
solitudes,  without  a  feeling  of  intense 
wonder  and  regret  that  so  many  thousands 
of  human  beings  should  live,  their  whole 
lives  herded  together  in  the  pestilential 
slums  of  European  cities.  Karma  —  un- 
doubtedly a  clear  case  of  Karma ! 

The  quasi  -  civilisation  of  Johannesburg 
and  Kimberley  had  not  initiated  us  into 
the  difficulties  of  pioneer  life,  though  our 
experiences  in  those  places  were  useful  in 
many  ways.  We  were  delighted  with  the 
place  of  our  future  abode,  and  looked  for- 



ward,  without  arriere  pens^e,  to  opening  a 
hospital  there. 

It  was  Mr.  Fiennes  who  first  raised  a 
note  of  alarm.  He  told  us  that  the  innocent- 
looking  brook  we  had  slipped  over  so  easily 
became  a  raging  river  during  the  rains.  It 
would  cut  off  the  hospital  from  all  com- 
munication with  the  Police  camp  for  days 
together.  The  only  doctor  in  the  place 
lived  in  the  camp,  it  must  be  remembered, 
and  all  our  provisions  came  from  there.  Mr. 
Fiennes  added  that  the  "doctor's  assistant," 
of  whom  we  had  heard,  existed  only  on 
paper.  It  would  be  quite  impossible,  he 
said,  for  three  women  to  live  alone  on  that 
hill,  two  miles  from  the  doctor  or  from  any 
help  whatsoever.  If  a  patient  were  taken 
worse  at  night,  we  could  send  no  message  to 
Dr.  Lichfield  till  morning.  Not  a  native  would 
ever  be  induced  to  cross  the  veldt  at  night ;  nor 
would  it  be  fair  to  ask  it  in  a  country  where  wild 
beasts  were  plentiful.  I  n  the  in  terests  of  future 
patients  we  must  make  a  stand,  and  refuse  to 
have  our  hospital  on  the  site  chosen  for  it. 


Here  was  indeed  a  dilemma !  We  clearly 
saw  the  force  of  Mr.  Fiennes's  reasons, 
but  we  did  not  see  how  to  get  matters 
remedied.  We  laid  the  case  before  the 
Bishop,  but  he  explained  that  he  could  not 
interfere  in  the  matter.  It  was,  he  said, 
entirely  a  question  for  the  Company  to 
decide.  Still  he  would  not  disapprove  of 
our  efforts  to  obtain  more  suitable  arrange- 
ments. He  would  even  help  us  indirectly. 
Then  began  a  sort  of  game  of  battledore  and 
shuttlecock.  A.  referred  us  and  our  pro- 
testations to  B.,  B.  to  C,  C.  sent  us  back 
to  A.,  and  nothing  was  done.  At  last  our 
excellent  host,  Mr.  Campion,  suggested  an 
appeal  to  Captain  Heany. 

Eagerly  catching  at  any  advice  which 
seemed  reasonable,  and  knowing  Captain 
Heany's  influence  to  be  very  great,  we  set  off 
to  his  camp  that  very  afternoon,  and  asked 
his  counsel  and  help.  Both  were  given  very 
readily,  and  at  a  word  from  him  quite  a 
commotion  was  created  in  the  country.  The 
diggers  and  traders  unanimously  agreed  that 

1 64     ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND    chap,  v 

they  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  the 
proposed  hospital  if  it  were  placed  on  that 
spot,  and  would  if  necessary  build  one  for 
themselves.  A  subscription  list  was  opened, 
and  a  considerable  sum  was  sent  to  us  the 
next  day. 

Just  at  that  time  Colonel  Pennefather, 
of  the  Inniskillings,  who  was  commanding 
the  Chartered  Company's  Police,  came  from 
Salisbury  to  Umtali,  and  made  a  pilgrimage 
to  our  camp  on  Sabi  Ophir  Hill.  We  found 
him  delightful  to  deal  with.  With  the 
prompt  decision  of  a  soldier  he  had  the 
vexed  question  settled  in  a  day,  and  it  was 
resolved  that  we  should  occupy  a  small 
encampment  close  to  the  Police  lines.  Hos- 
pital huts  would  be  built  near  it,  and  in  two 
or  three  weeks  we  should  be  able  to  receive 


Settling  down  at  Sabi  Ophir — Difficulties  of  cooking — No 
luggage  —  Gold  panning  —  Mr.  Sutton  leaves  the 
Bishop — Description  of  our  huts — Visit  from  a  hysena 
— Arrival  of  Mrs.  Tulloch  and  children — The  question 
of  food  —  Flowers — Mr.  Selous  visits  Umtali  —  Mr. 
Teal  devoured  by  a  lion — The  native  labour  question 
— Evils  of  drink — Our  boxes  are  rifled  by  the  natives 
— Our  first  patient  —  The  Administrator  arrives  at 
Umtali  —  Hospital  hut  opened  —  Bishop  leaves  for 
England  —  Horrors  of  night  duty  —  Arrival  of  Mr. 
Rhodes — Site  of  camp  moved — The  rains  begin — Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Bent. 

After  this  excitement  life  settled  back  into 
monotonous  idleness.  We  endeavoured  to 
make  our  leisure  useful  by  acquiring  a 
knowledge  of  cookery,  but  truly  it  was 
learning  pursued  under  difficulties.  We 
had  rations  of  coarse  meal  and  a  piece  of 
ox  flesh.  Our  cooking  utensils  consisted 
of   a   three-legged    pot   and    a    frying  -  pan. 


How  were  we  to  create  a  dinner  ?  A  year 
later  we  should  have  produced  something 
eatable ;  but  in  those  days  we  were  incap- 
able. We  boiled  the  ox  flesh  in  the  three- 
legged  pot,  whence  it  issued  in  the  condition 
of  shoe-leather.  Mixing  the  meal  with 
water,  we  made  the  most  horrible  half-cooked 
flat  cakes  by  heating  the  dough  on  hot 
stones.  There  was  neither  baking  powder 
nor  yeast  in  the  country. 

One  day  we  received  a  present  of  venison, 
shot  by  a  Mr.  Teal.  Now,  I  had  from  time 
to  time  saved  up  a  small  quantity  of  sardine 
oil,  believing  myself  to  be  a  famous  house- 
keeper. In  a  moment  of  vain  self-confidence 
I  undertook  the  dinner  that  night,  and  we 
invited  Mr.  Campion  to  come  and  eat  venison 
steaks.  I  fried  these  steaks  in  my  sardine 
oil,  and  served  them  proudly.  They  posi- 
tively looked  like  real  steaks,  such  as  people 
would  eat  at  home.  But,  alas !  scarcely  had 
two  mouthfuls  been  eaten  when  every  one 
fled  from  the  table,  and  my  wonderful  dinner 
was  abandoned  to  the  little  native  who  waited 


on  us.  He  certainly  enjoyed  it  immensely, 
so  even  that  ill  wind  blew  somebody  good  ; 
but  it  was  unanimously  decided  that  hence- 
forth I  was  never  to  be  trusted  with  the  pre- 
paration of  meals,  and  I  was  reduced  to  the 
positidn  of  a  kitchen-maid — not,  I  must 
confess,  before  it  was  high  time. 

Rumours  now  reached  us  that  the  Road 
Company's  waggons  had  at  last  arrived  at 
'Mpanda's,  and  had  begun  their  return  trek. 
Then  we  heard  of  oxen  dying,  of  long  de- 
lays on  the  road,  and  of  fever  amongst  the 
trekkers,  some  of  whom  were  said  to  have 
died.  Captain  Heany  sent  fresh  teams  of 
oxen  and  waggons  down  to  bring  up  the 
travellers,  giving  orders  that  our  luggage 
was  to  be  secured  and  brought  up.  The 
Mission  people  abandoned  the  waggons,  and 
trailed  up  to  Umtali,  one  after  the  other,  each 
bringing  a  few  boys  and  some  provisions. 
One  of  them  reached  Umtali  on  the  10th  of 
August,  and  told  us  that  old  Wilkins  was 
stuck  at  Chimoio  with  all  the  luggage.  The 
oxen  were  dead,  and  he  could  do  nothing  till 

168  ADVENTURES  chap. 

the  fresh  teams  arrived.  It  was  quite  im- 
possible to  say  when  we  should  get  our 
clothes  ;  meanwhile  we  should  have  to  go  on 
with  the  couple  of  changes  of  linen  we  had  had 
with  us  on  the  march,  and  be  very  thankful 
if  we  ever  again  beheld  our  boxes.  We  had 
made  a  resolution  never  to  grumble,  and 
on  the  whole  I  think  we  kept  it  fairly  well. 

Meanwhile  digging  and  prospecting  went 
on  actively ;  gold  reefs  were  discovered  in 
every  direction ;  no  one  talked  of  anything 
but  "booms,"  "shares,"  "quartz  carrying 
visible,"  and  the  prospect  of  finding  alluvial 
fields.  It  was  amusing  to  go  to  a  digger's 
encampment,  see  him  "  crush "  his  quartz, 
and  then  "pan  it."  Panning  means  washing 
the  crushed  quartz  in  a  sort  of  iron  basin, 
gradually  allowing  all  the  rubbish  to  flow 
away  with  the  water,  and  then  the  heavy 
gold  remains  in  the  bottom  of  a  pan  in  a  thin 
yellow  streak,  often  almost  imperceptible. 
When  a  miner  sees  this  yellow  streak  he 
exclaims  that  he  has  "  got  colour,"  and  is  a 
happy  man.     Finding  a  great  deal  of  colour 


is  a  reason  for  "going  on  the  burst."  Find- 
ing nothing  at  all  is  also  a  reason  for  a 
"  burst."     Thus  do  extremes  meet. 

Old^Wilkins  reached  Umtali  on  the  16th 
of  August,  having  left  the  luggage  at  Chimoio 
to  come  up  with  Captain  Heany's  waggons. 
Shortly  after  Mr.  Sutton  left  the  Mission, 
returning  to  Sabi  Ophir.  He  was  such  a 
good-natured  young  fellow  that  we  felt  sure 
the  Bishop  would  miss  him.  He  said  he  did 
not  find  that  the  life  at  the  Mission  agreed 
with  him,  and  preferred  seeking  for  work 
elsewhere.  Very  soon  after  his  arrival  at  Sabi 
Ophir  we  left  that  encampment,  and  took 
possession  of  four  huts  about  fifty  yards  from 
the  lines.  The  officers  furnished  these  huts 
for  us,  and  made  them  astonishingly  com- 
fortable. They  stripped  their  own  huts  of 
the  spoils  of  Masse-Kesse,  and  we  became 
the  proud  possessors  of  a  real  table,  chairs,  a 
pair  of  candlesticks,  and  treasure  of  treasures ! 
— a  bath.  The  huts  were  of  a  round  beehive 
shape ;  the  mud  walls  were  concealed  behind 
a  drapery  of  blue  and  white  limbo,  and  the 

i7o  ADVENTURES  chap. 

earthen  floors  covered  with  the  white  mats 
which  the  natives  weave  out  of  split  reeds. 
These  mats  are  extremely  practical,  as  they 
are  strong  and  capable  of  being  washed. 

Our  encampment  was  enclosed  by  a  low 
wall  of  loosely  piled  stones,  inside  which  we 
were  assured  no  wild  beast  would  dare  to 
penetrate.  We  firmly  believed  this,  and 
felt  quite  safe  till  an  enterprising  hyaena  tried 
to  enter  into  our  store  hut,  where  a  piece  of 
ox  was  suspended  from  the  roof  awaiting  to 
be  consumed.  I  consider  it  a  special  pro- 
vidence that  no  wild  creatures  burst  into  our 
sleeping  huts.  We  had  no  doors,  only  a 
mat  hanging  before  the  opening.  Many  a 
night  did  we  lie  awake  in  terror,  listening  to 
the  strange,  uncanny  noises  of  the  veldt,  and 
imagining  every  sort  of  terrible  possibility. 
We  tried  to  overcome  these  terrors,  with  but 
indifferent  success ;  and  I  cannot  say  that  we 
ever  became  accustomed  to  the  neighbour- 
hood of  wild  beasts. 

About  this  time  a  prospector,  named 
Tulloch,    brought    his    wife    and    two    little 


children  from  the  coast  in  machilas.  We 
went  to  see  Mrs.  Tulloch,  and  found  her 
in  bed  with  a  slight  attack  of  fever  ;  the  two 
children*  were  ill  also.  It  was  strange  and 
delightful  to  see  children  again.  We  made 
Mrs.  Tulloch  promise  to  bring  them  over  to 
see  us  as  soon  as  possible.  Like  ourselves, 
this  family  had  been  forced  to  leave  all  their 
luggage  behind  them,  and  were  in  want  of 
provisions.  It  was  a  great  regret  to  us  that 
we  could  not  help  them.  We  had  nothing 
ourselves  but  the  Company's  rations,  on 
which  even  the  men  could  not,  and  were 
not  expected,  to  live. 

The  kindness  of  the  Company's  officers 
kept  us  from  starvation.  The  meat  rations 
often  failed  to  appear,  or  were  uneatable. 
Such  incidents  must  be  expected  in  a  new 
country,  but  it  was  very  unpleasant  to  be 
conscious  that,  instead  of  being  able  to  help, 
we  were  ourselves  a  burden  on  the  already 
heavily  taxed  resources  of  the  camp.  But 
there  was  nothing  to  be  done  but  accept  the 
situation  till  Dr.  Jameson,  the  Administrator, 


came  down  from  Salisbury.  Meanwhile 
every  prospector  who  came  to  see  us  brought 
an  offering.  One  came  with  a  bake-pot,  one 
with  bananas,  one  with  honey  in  a  bottle.  Mr. 
Fiennes,  who  had  some  cows,  sent  milk 
regularly  to  us  and  to  Mrs.  Tulloch.  A 
Mashona  cow  that  gives  three  wine  bottles 
of  milk  a  day  is  considered  a  good  cow,  so 
that  the  bottle  of  milk  which  we  received 
every  day  was  a  very  generous  gift,  and 
proved  a  great  boon  as  soon  as  we  had  any 
bad  case  to  nurse. 

I  may  seem  to  lay  great  stress  on  our 
feeding  experiences,  but  in  Africa  the  food 
question  is  really  a  burning  one.  How  to 
obtain  provisions,  how  to  cook  them  when 
procured — these  are  problems  of  absorbing 
interest  in  a  pioneer  camp. 

It  is  curious  and  interesting  to  watch  the 
process  of  victualling  a  new  country,  which 
is  cut  off  from  ordinary  transport  organisa- 
tion. The  first  thing  a  trader  asks  himself 
is,  "What  will  sell  best?"  The  answer  is 
not  far   to  seek — whisky !      Thereupon   he 


buys  up  the  cheapest  spirit  he  can  obtain 
in  the  colony,  engages  seventy  or  eighty 
natives  to  "  run  it  up,"  and  floods  the  country 
with  fiery  poison.  To  make  up  the  carrier's 
loads  to  the  requisite  weight  he  adds  a  few 
conveniently -sized  tins  of  food  stuff.  He 
does  not  care  in  the  least  what  sort  of  food 
it  is,  relying  as  he  does  for  all  his  profit  on 
the  whisky.  Spirit  which  he  has  bought  for 
15s.  the  dozen,  he  sells  for  30s.  a  bottle,  and 
considers  that  he  is  barely  making  a  fair 
profit.  Meanwhile  the  provisions  he  throws 
on  the  market  are  most  eccentric.  I  re- 
member a  time  when  nothing  but  sardines 
could  be  bought  in  Umtali.  Then  came  a 
period  of  tinned  lobster,  to  be  followed  by  a 
deluge  of  foie-gras.  For  a  week  or  two  the 
whole  of  Manica  breakfasted,  dined,  supped 
on  foie-gras — not  of  the  best.  A  great  deal 
of  illness  which  was  attributed  to  fever  and 
climate  might  with  much  truth  be  put  down 
to  the  score  of  eccentric  eating  and  drinking. 
Among  the  things  which  disappointed  us 
in  Africa  were  the  flowers.     There  were  a 

174  ADVENTURES  chap. 

good  many,  it  is  true,  and  very  brilliant  ones, 
but  they  came  out  in  successions,  like  crops, 
and  so  the  varied  effect  so  beautiful  in 
England  was  entirely  lost.  Whilst  the 
hospital  huts  were  in  process  of  construction 
we  used  to  go  on  flower-hunting  expeditions, 
knowing  that  soon  we  should  have  no  time 
for  wanderings.  With  the  exception  of  a  tall 
flag-like  lily,  which  grew  along  the  banks  of 
rivers,  or  in  pools  and  swamps,  the  flowers 
consisted  chiefly  of  tree  blooms.  At  that 
time,  about  the  middle  of  September,  a  tree, 
something  like  an  ash  as  to  the  leaf,  burst 
into  bloom.  The  blooms  were  like  bunches 
of  gigantic  buttercups  of  a  brilliant  yellow 
colour.  At  first  we  were  delighted  with 
them.  The  golden  flowers  brought  light 
and  colour  into  our  huts,  and  were  admirably 
set  off  by  the  brown  walls.  But  after  two  or 
three  weeks  of  yellow  it  became  intolerable. 
In  like  manner  the  scarlet  bloom  of  a  species 
of  azalea  at  first  charmed  and  then  wearied. 
Everything  in  Africa  is  excessive — the  light, 
the  heat,  the  vegetation,  the  wild  beasts ! 


Just  at  that  time  the  great  hunter  Mr. 
Selous  came  to  Umtali.  We  were  much 
afraid  that  we  should  miss  him,  but  he  sent 
us  word  that  he  would  come  as  soon  as  he 
could  get  his  shirt  washed.  When  we  re- 
ceived this  message  we  felt  sure  he  was  a 
delightful  person — and  our  instincts  did  not 
deceive  us. 

Mr.  Selous  appeared  to  be  a  man  of  about 
eight-and-thirty,  light,  active,  and  giving  one 
an  impression  of  presence  of  mind  and  re- 
source. Of  his  personal  appearance  it  is 
impossible  to  remember  anything  but  his 
eyes,  which  are  extraordinarily  clear  and 

We  persuaded  our  distinguished  guest  to 
tell  us  some  of  his  adventures,  which  he  did 
with  great  charm  and  modesty.  He  is  known 
throughout  Africa  as  the  man  who  never  tells 
a  lie.  If  one  were  to  make  the  most  incredible 
statement,  adding,  "  Selous  told  me  so,"  people 
would  say,  "  This  is  a  hard  saying,  but,  if 
you  heard  it  from  Selous,  it  must  be  true." 
What  a  splendid  reputation  to  have  anywhere, 

176  ADVENTURES  chap. 

but  especially  in  Africa!  He  told  us  he 
had  shot  twenty-three  lions  to  his  own  gun, 
and  had  helped  to  put  an  end  to  nine  others. 
This  was  two  years  ago.  We  told  him  about 
those  we  had  heard  roaring  around  us  on  the 
way  up,  and  how  frightened  we  had  often 
been.  He  said  our  mode  of  travelling,  sleep- 
about  in  the  open  beside  dim  fires,  was  ex- 
tremely foolhardy,  and  we  should  probably 
have  suffered  for  it  had  not  the  country  been 
so  well  stocked  with  game.  A  hungry  lion, 
he  added,  will  jump  over  any  fire,  and  what 
he  will  or  will  not  dare  cannot  possibly  be 

A  terrible  event  which  occurred  a  few 
miles  from  the  camp,  just  after  Mr.  Selous 
left  for  Salisbury,  gave  point  to  this  observa- 

Mr.  Teal,  the  same  young  fellow  whose 
venison  I  had  fried  in  sardine  oil,  went  out 
prospecting,  taking  with  him  a  native  servant, 
a  waggon,  and  a  span  of  oxen,  and  leaving  his 
brother  at  home  on  a  farm  which  the  two 
were  beginning  to  cultivate.     The  next  day 


the  native,  beside  himself  with  terror,  ap- 
peared at  the  farm,  and  told  the  elder  Teal 
that  his  brother  had  been  devoured  by  a  lion. 
Snatching  up  his  rifle,  and  calling  to  his 
natives  to  follow,  the  distracted  man  sped 
away  to  the  spot  where  his  brother's  waggon 
was  still  outspanned.  After  a  brief  search, 
the  head  of  the  unhappy  young  Teal  was 
found  under  a  bank.  Part  of  his  arm  was 
lying  close  by.  The  native  said  that  after 
supping  and  making  up  the  fire,  he  and  his 
master  rolled  themselves  in  their  blankets, 
and  went  to  sleep  under  the  waggon.  Sud- 
denly, not  a  rustle  having  betrayed  his 
presence,  a  lion  seized  the  white  man  by  the 
foot  and  dragged  him  away.  The  native 
crept  out  from  under  the  other  end  of  the 
waggon,  and  swarmed  up  a  tree.  There,  in 
the  bright  moonlight,  he  saw  the  lion  drag 
his  master  across  the  veldt  towards  a  high 
bank.  The  lioness  sprang  out  of  the  grass,  and 
ran  after  her  mate,  giving  their  prey  playful 
taps  in  true  cat-like  fashion,  and  uttering 
little  grunts  of  pleasure.     The  native  had  a 


178  ADVENTURES  chap. 

rifle,  but  was  too  terrified  to  fire.  Had  he 
done  so  he  might  have  scared  the  lions,  and 
given  his  master  a  chance  of  escape.  As  it 
was,  the  unhappy  man's  shrieks  were  heard 
for  many  minutes. 

It  was,  up  to  that  time,  the  popular  belief 
that  a  lion  will  not  take  a  man,  if  he  can  get 
a  bullock,  and  that  'he  prefers  a  native  to  a 
white  man.  Also  that  he  does  not  understand 
waggons,  and  is  afraid  of  them.  This 
horrible  tragedy  proved  all  these  theories  to 
be  based  on  nothing. 

As  soon  as  this  news  reached  the  camp, 
Mr.  Fiennes  went  out  in  search  of  the  lions, 
but  found,  somewhat  to  his  disappointment, 
that  they  had  been  shot  by  a  Dutchman 
the  night  before. 

Mr.  Selous  gave  us  a  huge  bundle  of 
newspapers  before  leaving  Umtali,  and 
rifled  his  waggon  to  fill  our  empty  store-room. 
The  papers  were  a  great  boon.  We  had  had 
no  letters  since  we  left  Cape  Town  in  April. 
English  news  of  any  kind  seems  to  bring  one 
nearer  home.     We  sent  some  letters  off  by 


Mr.  Selous,  who  would  take  them  to 
Salisbury,  and  get  them  sent  on  as  quickly 
as  possible.  In  these  days  one  can  send  a 
letter  to  Umtali  from  London  in  six  weeks, 
but  at  the  time  I  am  writing  of,  1891,  it  often 
took  three  weeks  to  reach  Salisbury  from 
Umtali.  This  will  give  some  idea  of  the 
difficulties  which  the  excellent  postal  organ- 
isation, now  existing,  had  to  overcome. 

Of  late  we  had  seen  but  little  of  the 
Bishop.  He  had  gone  on  an  exploring  tour 
to  some  kraals,  with  an  eye  towards  future 
mission  stations.  Returning  to  Umtali  at 
the  beginning  of  September,  he  left  almost 
immediately  for  Salisbury.  The  clergyman 
who  was  bringing  his  waggon  across  the 
Transvaal  had  as  yet  made  no  sign.  The 
Bishop  hoped  to  get  news  of  him  at 

The  native  labour  question  in  Manica 
was  almost  as  vexed  a  one  as  the  eight  hours' 
question  in  England.  It  was  almost  im- 
possible to  procure  boys,  and,  even  when  one 
had    succeeded    in    engaging    a    few,    they 


promptly  fled.  In  consequence  the  hospital 
huts  were  making  no  progress. 

M'Tassa,  the  "King",  of  Manica,  was 
dissatisfied  with  the  present  the  Chartered 
Company  had  given  him.  He  wanted  rifles 
and  cartridges,  and  had  only  received  old 
uniforms,  indifferent  limbo,  and  a  few  caps. 
Mr.  Fiennes  went  over  to  the  King's  kraal 
to  remonstrate  with  him  about  the  behaviour 
of  his  men,  and  some  of  the  runaway  natives 
were  sent  back. 

Curiously  enough  the  Bishop,  who  worked 
his  boys  hard  and  paid  them  little,  was  the 
only  person  in  the  country  with  whom  the 
natives  would  stay.  I  think  one  reason  of 
his  success  in  managing  natives  lay  in  the 
fact  that  he  treated  them  consistently.  His 
boys  were  neither  playthings  nor  slaves ; 
were  well  fed,  regularly  paid,  and  cared  for 
when  sick.     ■ 

A  native  never  understands  familiarity  on 
the  part  of  his  chief.  Yet  they  are  so 
fantastically  quaint,  that  it  is  difficult  to  avoid 
laughing  at  and  with  them.     More  than  once 


we  split  on  this  rock,  our  boys  becoming  idle 
and  insubordinate.  The  native,  too,  believes 
in  the  rea4y  money  system,  and  requires  to 
be  paid  at  the  very  hour  or  minute  his  money 
falls  due.  He  appears  with  a  piece  of  string, 
on  which  he  has  made  a  knot  for  every  day 
he  has  worked,  stretching  out  his  hands  for 
"mali"  (money).  If  the  "mali"  is  not 
forthcoming  that  very  instant — good-bye  to 
peace !  You  are  followed  about  the  whole 
day.  You  drive  the  man  away  twenty  times  ; 
he  returns.  You  send  for  an  interpreter, 
and  explain  that  gold  is  coming  down  in  the 
waggons  but  has  not  yet  arrived.  Fruitless 
effort!  The  native  only  repeats,  "  Nyanga 
pelile — funa  mali,"  "  The  month  is  finished, 
I  want  money." 

The  Bishop  only  paid  his  boys  with  a 
blanket,  or  a  stretch  or  two  of  limbo,  worth 
perhaps  eightpence ;  very  rarely,  he  told  us, 
did  he  give  money ;  yet  natives  swarmed  at 
the  Mission  Farm.  The  Chartered  Com- 
pany paid  £i  per  month  in  gold,  and  found 
it  very  difficult  to  procure  native  labour.     Of 

1 82  ADVENTURES  chap. 

course  the  Company's  natives  had  many- 
masters — some  were  good,  others  brutal  and 
drunken ;  drinking  was  beginning  to  take 
very  great  proportions  in  Umtali. 

It  was  sad,  terrible,  yet  the  men  had 
very  many  excuses.  I  do  not  believe  that 
any  community  of  men,  from  any  part  of  the 
world,  would  have  shown  to  much  greater 
advantage  under  similar  circumstances. 

The  Umtali-ite  of  those  days  had  absolutely 
nothing  to  do,  was  without  books  or  papers, 
and  had  gone  through  great  hardships.  The 
certainty  that  it  would  be  more  difficult  than 
any  one  had  supposed,  to  "open  up  the 
country,"  as  the  phrase  went,  quickly  followed 
the  wild  excitement  created  by  the  discovery 
of  wonderful  gold  -  reefs.  Drinking  bars 
abounded  —  the  Jew  traders  took  care  of 
that.  And,  in  addition  to  all  these  causes, 
there  was  that  terrible  African  depression, 
which  all  who  have  visited  the  Dark  Con- 
tinent must  experience.  It  sweeps  over  a 
community,  as  a  mist  descends  from  the 
mountain -tops,   and  difficult  indeed  is  it  to 


shake  it  off.  Therefore,  whilst  deploring 
the  fact  that  two -thirds  of  the  population 
were  at  that  time  almost  always  drunk,  it 
would  be  extremely  unfair  to  judge  them  too 
harshly.  Of  course  drink  increased  the  diffi- 
culties of  dealing  with  the  natives,  leading  as 
it  did  to  all  kinds  of  ill-treatment.  The 
Mashona  never  retaliates.  If  kicked  and 
cuffed,  he  vanishes  in  the  night,  and  leaves 
no  trace. 

In  spite  of  all  delays  one  hospital  hut 
was  nearly  finished  by  the  22nd  of  Septem- 
ber. On  that  eventful  day  the  waggons 
which  Captain  Heany  had  sent  down  to 
Chimoio  returned,  bringing  with  them  part 
of  our  luggage.  The  whole  of  Sister 
Welby's  effects  were  there,  and  a  small  box 
belonging  to  Sister  Lucy.  All  my  posses- 
sions and  most  of  hers  were  lost.  We  heard 
that  they  had  been  abandoned  by  one  of  the 
Mission  men,  "  somewhere  on  the  veldt." 
Though  the  Chartered  Company  sent  two 
exploring  parties  to  search  for  the  boxes,  no 
trace  of  them  was  ever  discovered.      They 

1 84  ADVENTURES  chap. 

were  said  to  have  been  rifled  by  natives. 
To  this  day  the  route  from  'Mpanda's  to 
Umtali  is  marked  by  abandoned  waggons, 
and  broken  and  rotting  packing-cases. 

These  waggons  brought  with  them  a 
rumour  to  the  effect  that  Mr.  Rhodes  was 
on  his  way  from  Beira,  and  would  reach 
Umtali  shortly.  Nobody  believed  this  at 
the  time.  Dr.  Jameson,  the  Administrator, 
was  expected,  too,  in  a  few  days.  We  hoped 
to  see  him,  and  have  something  definitely 
settled  with  regard  to  stores.  We  could  not 
go  on  much  longer  living  on  public  charity, 
nor  could  the  officers'  mess  be  expected  to 
feed  us  and  the  patients.  The  Mission  had 
no  stores  to  speak  of,  and  the  possibility  of 
getting  up  any  more  was  very  doubtful. 

On  the  26th  of  September  our  first  patient 
arrived.  It  was  the  last  sort  of  case  I  should 
have  expected  out  there,  the  man  being 
elderly,  and  apparently  in  very  nearly  the 
last  stage  of  phthisis.  With  care  and  good 
food  he  might  be  patched  up  perhaps,  but 
good  food  was  not  to  be  had.    The  hospital 


hut  not  being  ready,  our  patient  brought  a 
tent,  which,  was  pitched  some  little  way  off, 
outside  our  compound.  Dr.  Lichfield  told 
us  to  give  the  old  man  dinner,  of  "  whatever 
we  had  going."  As  we  had  nothing  going 
but  some  stodgy  cookies,  the  sergeants'  mess 
undertook  to  send  up  "something,"  and 
something  did  come  by  and  by,  in  the  shape 
of  a  huge  plateful  of  not  over  fresh  tinned 

None  of  the  Company's  officials,  not  even 
the  doctor,  would  take  the  responsibility  of 
ordering  any  "hospital  comforts,"  as  they 
are  called  in  Africa.  So  we  took  the  re- 
sponsibility on  ourselves,  feeling  sure  the 
Administrator  would  come  to  the  rescue  ;  and 
the  British  South  Africa  Company's  Hospital, 
Umtali,  was  opened  with  furniture  and  stores 
consisting  of  two  or  three  iron  spoons,  two 
tin  mugs,  a  couple  of  pots  of  Liebig's  extract 
of  meat,  and  a  packet  of  maizena — a  species 
of  corn-flour,  which,  when  boiled  in  milk,  the 
African  doctors  prefer  to  arrowroot.  It  also 
serves  to  make  excellent  blanc-mange,  as  we 

1 86  ADVENTURES  chap. 

discovered    when    we    became    a    little    less 
stupid  about  household  matters. 

Dr.  Jameson  appeared  at  Umtali  towards 
the  end  of  September.  "Dr.  Jim  of  Mashona- 
land "  was  well  known  to  us  by  reputa- 
tion, as  a  brilliant  surgeon.  Legends  of  his 
wonderful  operations  and  cures  will  long 
linger  at  Kimberley.  His  appearance  some- 
what disappointed  us,  but  before  being  in  his 
company  five  minutes  one  is  struck  with  his 
quickness  of  perception.  Scarcely  have  you 
begun  a  sentence,  when  he  knows  how  it  will 
end.  No  one  sees  a  point,  nor  catches  an 
allusion,  with  more  rapidity.  Our  first  inter- 
view with  our  Administrator  was  not  a  par- 
ticularly pleasant  one.  I  am  free  to  confess 
that  we  forgot  diplomacy,  and  vented  a  good 
deal   of  pent-up    irritation    on    our   visitor's 


Mieux  persuade, 
Et  peut  davantage 
Un  doux  visage 
Qu'un  homme  arme*, 

is  a  truth  which  no  woman  should  forget ! 


Unfortunately  Dr.  Jameson,  in  the  course 
of  conversation,  said  we  had  come  up  a  year 
too  early,  but  that  now  we  had  arrived,  he 
must  try  and  find  us  patients.  "  Supposing 
you  first  find  a  hospital,"  was  the  obvious 
retort  which  we  did  not  fail  to  make.  Then, 
taking  Dr.  Jameson's  speech  to  imply  blame 
to  the  Bishop  for  bringing  us  up,  we  pro- 
ceeded to  denounce  the  muddle  of  the 
Chartered  Company's  affairs,  the  drink  which 
they  allowed  to  be  imported  for  the  sake  of 
revenue,  and  a  great  many  other  things 
which  were  absolutely  no  business  of  ours. 
"  Jameson  went  into  that  hut  a  man,  and 
came  out  a  mouse,"  said  the  officer  who 
brought  him  to  us,  and  who  sat  in  silent 
dismay  in  a  corner  of  the  hut. 

But  the  Administrator  was  much  too  large- 
minded  to  bear  malice.  Instead  of  resenting 
our  impolitic  reproaches,  he  revenged  him- 
self generously  by  making  every  arrangement 
both  for  the  hospital  and  for  ourselves,  which 
the  state  of  the  country  permitted.  From 
that  date  the  Chartered  Company  took  entire 

1 88  ADVENTURES  chap. 

charge  of  us,  and,  as  regarded  material  wants, 
we  had  nothing  more  to  do  with  the  Mission. 
The  Administrator  authorised  us  to  order 
all  necessaries  for  hospital  and  ourselves,  and 
the  Company  paid  the  bills  without  a  murmur. 

The  hospital  hut  being  open  we  took  in 
three  patients,  the  poor  old  man  in  the  tent 
requesting  not  to  be  moved.  There  was 
no  chance  now  of  prolonging  his  life  for  any- 
time.    Indeed,  he  died  on  the  8th  of  October. 

I  shall  never  forget  night-nursing  in  that 
tent.  Sister  Lucy  and  I  did  it  together,  as 
we  were  each  afraid  of  going  up  and  down  the 
hill  alone.  The  fate  of  Mr.  Teal  was  in  our 
minds,  as  we  sat  by  a  small  fire  near  the 
tent,  with  intense  darkness  around  us,  and 
the  cry  of  a  passing  hyaena  curdling  the  blood 
in  our  veins.  When  the  hut  was  built  we 
could  sit  in  the  porch,  the  sleeping  patients 
inside  were  a  sort  of  company,  and  the  night 
seemed  to  pass  more  quickly. 

On  the  day  on  which  our  first  patient 
died,  the  Bishop  came  to  say  good-bye.  We 
had  hoped  his  departure  for  England  would 


have  been  delayed  till  December.  His 
clergyman,  Mr.  Sewell,  had  not  yet  arrived. 
Dr.  Knight  Bruce  himself  had  only  reached 
Mashonaland  in  May,  and  it  seemed  a  short 
sojourn.  The  dreaded  rainy  season  was  at 
hand.  The  whole  township  and  hospital 
was  to  be  moved  to  a  distance  of  five  miles, 
its  present  site  being  considered  unfavourable 
for  the  development  of  a  town.  Everything 
was  still  in  an  unsettled  state.  We  could 
not  help  feeling  a  little  forlorn  as  we  saw  the 
Bishop  ride  away.  However,  he  explained 
that  it  was  absolutely  necessary,  in  the 
interests  of  the  Mission,  that  he  should  go 
to  England  and  collect  money.  Of  course,, 
the  interests  of  the  Mission  came  before 
everything.      Nothing  more  could  be  said. 

The  very  day  that  he  left,  Mr.  Rhodes 
arrived.  He  did  not  stay  in  the  Police 
Camp,  but  accepted  the  hospitality  offered  by 
Captain  Heany.  He  was  besieged  with 
petitions  of  all  sorts.  Malcontents  and 
chronic  grumblers  went  to  his  hut,  and  came 
away  in  a  few  moments  cheerful  and  satisfied. 


Not  that  anything  was  altered  in  the  con- 
dition of  affairs — the  man's  mere  personal 
magnetism  wrought  the  change. 

The  Premier's  stay  was  not  to  exceed 
two  days,  so  we  did  not  expect  to  see  him. 
Great  was  our  astonishment,  when,  on  the 
morning  of  Saturday,  the  ioth  of  October, 
one  of  the  officials  rushed  breathless  to  our 
hut  with  the  information  that  Mr.  Rhodes 
was  coming  to  see  us.  This  man  was  the 
only  official  who  had  been  persistently 
unpleasant,  and  he  had  come  to  request 
that  we  would  let  bygones  be  bygones! 
His  experience  of  women  must  have  been  a 
sad  one,  for  we  heard  that  he  really  believed 
we  should  try  and  revenge  ourselves  by  com- 
plaining to  Mr.  Rhodes  of  his  behaviour 
to  us. 

As  we  were  leaving  the  hospital  hut,  Mr. 
Rhodes  rode  up  alone.  His  appearance  and 
Roman  Emperor  type  of  head  are  too  well 
known  to  need  description.  We  took  him 
into  the  hut,  knowing  our  patients  would  like 
to  see  him.     It  was  not  without  difficulty 


that  we  persuaded  him  to  enter.  He  said 
that  if  he  were  ill  himself  he  should  not  like 
a  stranger  to  come  and  look  at  him.  But 
when  we  told  him  that  the  patients  would  be 
greatly  disappointed  if  they  did  not  see  him, 
he  yielded  at  once.  He  must  have  thought 
them  rather  stupid.  They  stared  with  •  all 
the  powers  of  their  eyes,  but  said  nothing. 
We  discovered  afterwards  that  they  could 
not  understand  his  not  having  finer  clothes. 
I  think  they  expected  a  more  gorgeous 
apparition,  a  chain  and  ring  man  probably, 
suggestive  of  De  Beers  Mine. 

As  soon  as  Mr.  Rhodes  was  seated  on  a 
box  in  our  hut,  he  asked  for  pen  and  ink, 
saying  he  would  give  us  a  cheque  at  once  for 
the  hospital.  How  much  would  we  have  ? 
Would  ,£100  do?  Amply,  we  said.  Well, 
he  thought  he  had  better  make  it  ^150.  I 
feel  sure  that  if  we  had  clamoured  for  ^500, 
he  would  have  given  it.  His  generosity  is 
proverbial,  everything  about  the  man  is  big 
— faults,  virtues,  projects.  His  ambition 
itself  is  largely  tinctured  with  altruism.      He 

192  ADVENTURES  chap. 

is  the  darling  of  Fortune — and  that  blind 
goddess  does  not  often  select  her  favourites 
from  the  Sunday  School.  We  were  espe- 
cially charmed  by  the  great  man's  simple 
manners,  and  boyish  enjoyment  of  a  joke. 
He  told  us  that  he  had  made  political  capital 
out  of  our  walk  up.  The  Cape  Town 
Government  having  objected  to  his  journey 
to  Umtali  on  the  score  of  danger,  he  had 
answered  that  if  ladies  had  been  able  to  walk 
up  without  tents  or  waggons,  it  would  be 
absurd  for  a  man  not  to  be  afraid  to  ride  up, 
as  the  horses,  of  course,  would  fall  victims 
to  the  fly !  After  this  statement  he  had  met 
with  no  further  opposition. 

Mr.  Rhodes  remained,  chatting  delight- 
fully, for  a  couple  of  hours,  and  left  promis- 
ing to  see  us  through  all  our  difficulties. 
Nor  was  this  a  vain  promise.  Of  his  many 
kindnesses,  we  thought  most  of  his  having 
remembered  to  replace  the  small  medical 
library,  which  had  been  lost  with  our  luggage. 
The  books  not  being  procurable  at  the  Cape, 
this  busy  man   took  the  trouble  of  having 


them  sent  for  to  England.  He  left  that 
evening  for  Salisbury,  leaving  every  one  as 
hopeful,  enterprising,  and  confident  in  the 
resources  of,  the  country,  as  they  had  been 
dispirited  and  pessimistic  before  his  arrival. 

Captain  Heyman,  of  Masse-Kesse  fame, 
had  left  Mashonaland  some  weeks  before, 
and  one  of  his  officers  took  his  place  pending 
the  arrival  of  Captain  Turner,  of  the  Scots, 
to  whom  the  appointment  of  officer  in  com- 
mand and  resident  magistrate  had  been  given. 
Captain  Turner  was  a  tall,  soldierly  young 
fellow,  with  a  splendid  physique.  It  would 
have  seemed  almost  impossible,  then,,  to 
believe  that  in  less  than  a  year  he  would 
have  fallen  a  victim  to  the  fever-fiend. 

After  Mr.  Rhodes's  departure  the  work  of 
starting  New  Umtali  began  in  earnest.  Mr. 
Fiennes,  with  some  of  his  police  and  a  num- 
ber of  natives,  encamped  over  at  the  new 
site,  and  set  to  work  building  the  police 
camp,  together  with  our  huts  and  the  hos- 
pital. This  last  was  quite  a  stately  square 
building,  with  a  small  operation  room  in  the 


centre  and  a  ward  on  either  side  ;  the  whole 
being  capable  of  holding  from  twenty  to 
thirty  sick. 

Some  sort  of  change  was  indeed  neces- 
sary. The  rains  had  begun  ;  the  existing 
hospital  hut  was  an  awful  place.  Hardly  a 
square  inch  of  roof  was  water-tight.  We 
put  up  an  umbrella  here,  hung  a  waterproof 
sheet  there,  and  did  what  was  possible.  But 
it  remained  a  cheerless,  uncomfortable  abode  ; 
and  it  went  to  one's  heart  to  see  a  sick  man 
lying  in  such  a  place.  As  to  our  own  huts, 
they  were  past  any  attempt  at  patching.  We 
huddled  together  in  the  centre  of  one,  where 
there  was  a  dry  space  of  about  a  yard  square, 
all  the  rest  being  a  sort  of  swamp.  How- 
ever, the  rain  was  not  continuous.  A  few 
hours'  sun  dried  up  everything.  Things 
might  have  been  worse,  and  were  improving 

One  Sunday  afternoon  some  interesting 
visitors  appeared  at  the  door  of  our  hut. 
They  were  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Bent,  accompanied 
by  a   Mr.    Swan.     We    had    hardly  shaken 


hands,  when  Mrs.  Bent  asked  us  what  we 
thought  of  her  dress.  This  was  a  difficult 
question  to  answer.  Mrs.  Bent's  costume 
consisted  of  an  ordinary  print  blouse,  worn 
over  obvious  stays ;  a  woollen  kilt,  reaching 
to  just  below  her  knees  ;  knickerbockers  ;  top 
boots ;  and  a  pith  helmet,  which  gave  its 
wearer  something  of  the  air  of  a  Britannia 
who  had  exchanged  the  rest  of  her  garments 
with  a  scarecrow !  We  gently  suggested 
that  if  the  fair  explorer  had  consulted 
Redfern,  or,  better  still,  Martin  of  Dublin, 
either  would  have  built  her  something  much 
more  workmanlike  and  beguiling.  After 
this  Mrs.  Bent  made  herself  very  pleasant, 
showed  us  photographs  which  she  had  taken 
with  much  skill,  a  talent  which  was  no  doubt 
of  great  use  to  her  husband.  Mr.  Bent 
might  have  been  the  "  Silent  Member  "  him- 
self, he  spoke  so  little  ;  but,  the  next  day, 
when  we  went  to  his  encampment,  he  showed 
us  his  sketch-books,  and  was  much  less  mute. 
He  was  fresh  from  those  strange  Mashona- 
land  ruins  which  have  given  rise  to  so  much 

196  ADVENTURES  chap. 

conjecture.  Mr.  Bent  supposed  them  to  be 
extremely  ancient.  He  told  us  that,  without 
consulting  the  archives  at  Lisbon,  he  could 
not  give  a  decided  opinion  on  their  origin. 
At  that  time  he  seemed  to  believe  them  to 
be  the  ruins  of  a  temple  and  fortress.  There, 
he  thought,  weird  rights  had  been  solemnised 
and  fierce  battles  fought. 

Mr.  Selous  differed  entirely  from  this 
view.  He  believes  the  ruins  to  be  com- 
paratively modern,  and  the  remains  of  native 
work.  There  is  a  tradition  that  a  great 
chief  is  buried  under  them,  and  Mashonas 
still  go  and  worship  there.  Mr.  Selous  is 
probably  the  best  authority  on  the  subject, 
knowing  Africa  as  thoroughly  as  he  does, 
and  being  able  to  converse  with  the  native 
as  easily  as  with  an  Englishman,  whilst  Mr. 
Bent  could  neither  speak  nor  understand  the 
language.  But  Mr.  Bent  appeared  certain 
that  the  Portuguese  only  could  throw  light 
on  the  problem.  He  said  that  the  Portu- 
guese had  certainly  been  all  over  the  country, 
and    that   a    Portuguese    archaeologist    who 


would  devote  himself  to  the  subject  would 
find  the  archives, of  Lisbon,  and  very  likely 
of  other  old  cities,  rich  in  most  interesting 

A  few  days  later  the  Bents  rode  away  to 
Masse- Kesse,  en  route  for  the  coast.  We 
saw  them  go,  with  something  of  a  pang. 
They  would  probably  be  our  last  visitors. 
When  the  rainy  season  set  in  thoroughly, 
Umtali  would  be  like  a  besieged  city,  and 
its  inhabitants  cut  off  from  all  communica- 
tion with  the  outer  world. 


Leaving  Old  for  New  Umtali — Our  Malay  boy  Jonosso — 
"  Your  Excellency's  plate  " — Rain — Waiting  for  the 
waggon — An  accident — Water-tight  huts — Furnishing 
the  hospital — Sister  Lucy  as  carpenter — The  white 
prisoner — His  thumbs  tied — Algernon  Caulfield  makes 
an  arm-chair — Illness  and  departure  of  Eustace 
Fiennes — Sister  B.  Welby  and  Dr.  Lichfield — Arrival 
of  our  clergyman — His  strange  attire — His  disputes 
with  the  mission  workers — He  "  chucks  his  orders  " — 
Advent  of  a  professional  baker — Sister  Lucy's  cake — Its 
effect  on  Col.  Pennefather — Wedding  cake — The  first 
marriage  in  Manica — Keeping  Christmas — The  police 
deputation — The  cow — Sports — Magistrate  and  Civil 
Commissioner  "  on  the  burst " — All  the  police  arrest 
each  other — The  last  man — General  amnesty — The 
Colonel  again —  "  Order  of  the  Sack  " — Good-byes. 

In  December,  1891,  we  took  possession  of 
our  new  hospital.  It  stood  on  a  gentle 
eminence  surrounded  by  trees,  commanding 
a  fine  view  of  the  plain  on  which  the  future 
township  was  to  be  built.  Rocky  hills  closed 
in   the   valley.        On    one    of    these    lived 

chap,  vii  ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND      199 

M'Tassa,  the  Manica  king.  Behind  the 
hospital  were  our  huts.  At  the  back  of 
these  the  compound  sloped  upward,  losing 
itself  in  a  thickly  wooded  hill.  It  was  a  pretty 
place  ;  the  rocks,  broken  ground,  and  trees, 
giving  it  a  very  picturesque  air. 

The  journey  from  Old  to  New  Umtali, 
a  distance  of  about  six  miles,  assumed  quite 
the  proportions  of  an  expedition.  What  we 
called  "our  furniture,"  such  rattle-traps  as 
would  be  disdained  by  an  East-end  flitter, 
was  piled  up  on  a  bullock  waggon.  Having 
seen  that  the  pots  and  pans  were  firmly 
bound  to  the  waggon  with  reims — that  is,  long 
strips  of  dried  cow-hide — we  walked  off,  the 
natives  setting  fire  to  the  huts  as  we  left 

We  had  been  so  fortunate  as  to  come 
across  a  wandering  Malay  from  the  coast. 
Malays  make  the  best  servants,  they  are 
so  spotlessly  clean.  Our  boy's  name  was 
"  Jonosso."  He  was  much  too  important 
and  dignified  a  person  to  have  anything  to 
do  with  the  waggon.      "Where,"  he  said  to 

200  ADVENTURES  chap. 

me  in  Portuguese,  "  Where  does  your  Excel- 
lency wish  your  Excellency's  plate  to  be 
packed  ?  "  Our  "  plate  "  consisted  of  six 
little  tea-spoons  which  we  had  brought  up 
with  us,  and  a  few  steel  forks  of  the  cheapest 
description.  All  were  kept  in  an  empty 
biscuit-tin,  as  sacred  to  Jonosso  as  the  most 
splendid  plate-chest  to  an  English  butler. 
He  stalked  before  us  bearing  it  on  his  head — 
a  strange  figure  in  a  long  blue  shirt,  or 
rather  night-gown,  reaching  to  the  middle 
of  his  calves ;  white  and  scarlet  striped 
trousers  of  thin  muslin  ;  a  scarlet  fez  on  his 
woolly  head  ; 1  and  a  perpetual  curl  of  smoke 
issuing  from  his  lips. 

Following  him  as  quickly  as  we  could,  for 
the  day  looked  threatening,  we  reached  New 
Umtali  towards  noon.  Hardly  had  we  taken 
refuge  in  Mr.  Fiennes's  hut,  when  the  rain 
began.  In  a  few  moments  the  huts  appeared 
to  be  standing  in  a  sort  of  lagoon.  The 
earth  is  so  dry  and  hard  in  Africa,  that  the 

1  The  "  Malays  "  in  Africa  generally  have  woolly  heads,  probably 
being  of  mixed  race. 

vii  IN  MASHONALAND  201 

rain  does  not  sink  into  it  for  a  long  time. 
Not  till  one  has  lived  in  these  climates,  does 
one  understand  the  force  of  the  Biblical 
expression,  "the  heavens  opened." 

Meanwhile,  there  we  sat,  watching  the 
rain,  and  wishing  the  waggon  would  come. 
Hour  after  hour  passed.  At  last  a  boy  was 
despatched  to  see  what  had  happened.  He 
soon  returned,  saying  the  waggon  had 
broken  down.  Off  rode  Mr.  Fiennes  and 
his  men,  and  by  their  united  efforts  the 
waggon  was  patched  up,  and  reached  its 
destination  an  hour  after  dark. 

Everything  had  been  upset  in  a  "donga" 
or  deep  ditch  between  two  hills.  The  rains 
had  filled  the  " donga"  with  water.  Our  tea 
had  turned  into  a  sort  of  soup,  our  meal  into 
dough.  The  precious  packing-cases,  on 
which  a  heavy  man  could  sit  without  fear 
of  accident,  were  smashed,  and  only  fit  for 
firewood.  Our  blankets  were  happily  dry. 
We  had  a  fire  lit  in  the  little  kitchen  hut  ; 
spread  waterproofs  on  the  floor ;  and,  rolled 
in  our  rugs,  slept  soundly  till  morning.     The 

A  D  VENTURES  chap. 

rain  poured  all  night,  but  none  found  its  way 
through  the  thatch.  The  certainty  of  having 
water-tight  huts  consoled  us  for  the  mis- 
adventures of  our  flitting. 

The  next  day  was  devoted  to  getting  huts 
and  hospital  into  something  like  order. 
After  a  great  deal  of  trouble,  and  after  taking 
Mr.  Rhodes's  name  in  vain  a  hundred  times 
a  day,  we  succeeded  in  obtaining  fairly  com- 
fortable canvas  stretchers  for  the  patients, 
instead  of  the  horrible  grass  and  sticks  which 
had  furnished  the  former  hospital  hut.  This 
was  something.  The  musty  smell  of  grass 
which  has  served  for  some  time  as  a  bed,  the 
impossibility  of  changing  it,  the  swarms  of 
fleas  which  it  harbours,  make  it  the  very  last 
thing  which  ought  to  be  used  for  sick  people. 
As  soon  as  the  sun  has  thoroughly  dried  the 
land  after  the  rains,  settlers  set  fire  to  the 
long  dry  grass.  It  is  dangerous  to  live  in 
the  midst  of  it,  as  a  chance  spark  will  set  it 
on  fire,  and  a  whole  encampment  be  swept 
away  in  a  few  moments.  So  that  except  at 
one  time  of  the  year,  there  is  great  difficulty 

vii  IN  MASHONALAND  203 

in  obtaining  grass  for  thatching  and  other 

Had  it  not  been  for  these  canvas 
stretchers  the  hospital  would  have  been 
absolutely  empty.  It  was  necessary  to  have 
a  few  tables.  Sister  Lucy,  who  had  a  great 
turn  for  carpentering,  set  to  work  to  make 
some.  It  was  amusing  to  see  her  hammer- 
ing and  sawing,  with  the  air  of  a  professional 
carpenter.  Our  little  black  boys  took  a 
lively  interest  in  these  operations.  Like 
Dora  Copperfield  and  her  pens,  they  felt 
they  were  helped  largely  if  they  held  the 
nails,  or  passed  the  saw. 

We  soon  obtained  other  assistance, 
however,  in  the  shape  of  a  white  prisoner. 
This  man,  a  Bavarian  prospector,  shot  at 
a  native  and  shattered  his  leg.  The  boy 
had  followed  his  master  about,  clamouring 
for  his  money.  In  a  moment  of  irritation,  the 
latter  snatched  up  his  gun,  and  discharged 
it  at  the  boy.  Dr.  Lichfield  rode  out 
to  the  German's  camp,  and  amputated  the 
injured  leg,  the  boy   eventually  recovering. 


Our  prisoner,  who  paid  a  fine,  and  had  to 
do  three  months'  hard  labour,  was  marched 
to  the  hospital  compound  every  morning. 
He  wore  the  usual  flannel  shirt  and 
miner's  trousers,  but  large  green  arrows 
were  painted  all  over  them.  The  sun 
melted  the  paint,  which  ran  down  him  in 
every  direction,  and  wherever  he  stood  he 
left  a  little  green  pool. 

There  was  no  door  to  the  gaol,  so  the 
Resident  Magistrate,  a  man  of  resource,  had 
the  prisoner's  thumbs  tied  behind  him  at 
night.  The  German,  accustomed  to  a  paternal 
government,  submitted  ;  but  when  it  came  to 
tying  Englishmen's  thumbs,  a  disturbance 
was  made,  and  the  practice  had  to  be 

The  German  was  not  Sister  Lucy's  only 
aide-de-camp.  Mr.  Algernon  Caulfield,  a 
nice  long-legged  English  boy,  who  had  just 
abandoned  diplomacy  at  the  Hague  in  favour 
of  an  unsophisticated  life  in  Mashonaland, 
offered  his  services.  He  could  actually  turn  a 
packing-case  into  an  arm-chair  in  a  few  hours. 

vii  IN  MAS  NONA  LAND  205 

When  covered  with  turkey  twill,  the  fi-devant 
box  appeared  to  have  come  from  Maple's. 
It  was  always  pushed  into  a  prominent 
position  in  the  hut,  and  invariably  excited 
the  liveliest  admiration  and  envy. 

Mr.  Seymour-Fort,  whose  camp  was  a 
few  miles  from  New  Umtali,  became  a 
frequent  visitor  at  the  hospital.  It  was 
well  for  us  that  these  excellent  friends 
were  at  hand.  The  Bishop  had  left,  so 
had  Mr.  Campion ;  and  now  Mr.  Fiennes, 
to  whom  we  owed  so  much,  whose  help 
we  counted  on  in  all  difficulties — and  never 
in  vain — was  going  also.  His  health  had 
broken  down  ;  it  was  necessary  that  he  should 
escape  to  the  colony,  if  not  to  England, 
before  the  Beira  route  became  impracticable. 
We  saw  him  leave  with  a  regret  which  may 
be  imagined. 

Meanwhile,  an  event  was  approaching,  in 
which  the  whole  of  the  little  colony  took 
much  interest.  Sister  B.  Welby  and  Dr. 
Lichfield  were  about  to  be  married. 

We  offered  no  opposition  to  the  marriage, 


although  feeling  that  the  work  would  fall 
somewhat  heavily  on  two.  But  Sister  B. 
Welby  detested  African  nursing,  and  could 
not  accommodate  herself  to  the  makeshift 
arrangements,  the  perpetual  cooking  and 
cleaning.  Unable  to  make  herself  happy 
in  the  hospital,  it  was  much  better  she 
should  leave  it,  since  an  opportunity  offered. 
A  person  who  takes  life  too  seriously  in  a 
pioneer  hospital,  who  can  extract  no  fun 
from  the  odd  contrivances  one  has  recourse 
to,  and  the  many  inevitable  difficulties,  must 
obviously  be  very  unhappy.  Only  cheery 
souls  should  attempt  African  nursing.  For 
these  reasons  the  marriage  was  fixed  for 
Christmas  Eve.  We  had  then  been  but 
four  months  in  Manica,  and  our  work  was 
only  beginning,  so  Sister  B.  Welby  escaped 
the  worst  of  the  hardship  and  drudgery  in 
store  for  us. 

The  long-expected  clergyman  had  arrived 
some  weeks  before  we  left  Old  Umtali.  I 
must  say  that  the  appearance  of  this  gentle- 
man, whose  name  was   Sewell,  was  a  great 

vii  IN  MASHONALAND  207 

shock  to  us.  He  wore  a  helmet  ;  a  flannel 
shirt ;  and  coarse  blue  trousers,  much  too 
short,  of  the  type  dear  to  navvies.  These 
were  held  in  place  by  a  large  scarlet  hand- 
kerchief, which  however  did  its  work  so 
indifferently  that  Mr.  Sewell  was  always 
hitching  up  his  trousers  like  a  comic  sailor  in 
a  pantomime.  Anything  more  unclerical  than 
his  manners  and  get-up  cannot  be  imagined. 
His  first  visit  was  entirely  taken  up  with 
complaints  of  his  position  and  of  the  other 
mission  workers.  He  said  he  had  no  money. 
Like  Dr.  Glanville  he  possessed  but  £2 ! 
He  also  informed  us  that  the  Bishop  had 
left  him  no  authority,  excepting  over  souls. 
A  mere  boy  was  in  charge  of  stores  and 
work.  He  was  not  going  to  stand  it ;  he 
would  work  his  way  home  before  the  mast. 
We  tried  to  persuade  the  irate  clergyman 
that  the  cure  of  souls  was  the  only  important 
part  of  the  Mission.  For  a  long  time  he 
would  do  nothing  but  rage  against  the  place, 
people,  and  Bishop.  "  Am  I  to  depend  for 
a  pound  of  butter  on  an   office    boy  ? "    he 

208  ADVENTURES  chap. 

cried,  over  and  over  again.  After  talking  for 
an  hour  or  so,  he  was  at  last  somewhat 
appeased.  He  consented  to  write  to  Dr. 
Knight  Bruce,  and  remain  quietly  at  Umtali 
until  he  received  an  answer.  Practically  this 
meant  remaining  till  the  end  of  the  rainy 
season,  as  he  could  not  hear  from  the  Bishop 
till  it  would  be  too  late  to  attempt  leaving  the 
country.  With  this  we  were  satisfied.  The 
delay  would  give  the  Bishop  time  to  remedy 
the  situation.  I  may  state  here  that,  the 
following  Easter,  Mr.  Sewell,  to  use  his  own 
expression,  "  chucked  his  orders,"  and  went 
into  partnership  with  a  Jew  tavern-keeper. 
Poor  Bishop !  he  told  us  the  man  had  been 
most  highly  recommended  to  him.  Surely 
people  who  give  unfounded  recommenda- 
tions have  a  very  false  idea  of  what  charity 
really  means. 

Meanwhile  the  resources  of  the  country 
were  increasing.  Imagine  our  joy  when  a 
real  baker  came  from  Salisbury,  and  we 
realised  that  the  days  of  amateur  bread- 
making  were  past  and  done  with.     Of  all  our 

vii  IN  MASHONALAND  209 

difficulties  I  really  think  this  was  the  worst. 
We  took  infinite  pains,  and  consulted  the 
best  local  authorities, — but  what  would  come 
out  of  that  baking  pot  was  always  the  merest 
lottery.  I  remember  once  receiving  a  pre- 
sent of  currants,  upon  which  Sister  Lucy 
resolved  to  make  a  currant  cake.  In  the 
pride  of  our  hearts  we  boasted  of  our  great 
doings,  with  the  result  that  Colonel  Penne- 
father  and  two  or  three  of  his  officers  came 
over  to  tea. 

Alas!  in  some  mysterious  way,  the  cake 
had  turned  into  a  sort  of  plum  pudding! 
Sister  Lucy  was,  however,  equal  to  the 
occasion ;  she  fried  the  pudding,  and  served 
large  slices  of  it  to  our  guests.  The  Colonel 
ate  his  slice  like  a  man,  and  a  very  polite 
one.  We  heard  that  he  was  very  irritable 
for  the  next  twenty-four  hours,  only  recover- 
ing when  rumours  of  a  lion  were  brought 
into  camp.  Irritable  or  not,  every  one  liked 
the  Colonel.  We  always  looked  forward  to 
his  visits,  and  were  very  sorry  when  he  left 


210  ADVENTURES  chap. 

Of  course  we  could  eat  fried  lumps  of 
dough,  even  though  it  was  not  very  whole- 
some. Bread  for  the  hospital  was  the  diffi- 
culty. Though  we  often  made  excellent 
loaves,  and  naturally  improved  daily,  results 
were  never  certain.  The  first  day  the 
baker's  boy  left  a  batch  of  bread  at  the 
hospital  was,  therefore,  a  red-letter  day. 
We  immediately  ordered  a  wedding  cake  for 
Christmas  Eve.  It  could  not  be  iced,  but  it 
would  be  a  real  cake. 

Early  on  the  morning  of  the  24th  of 
December,  Sister  Lucy  and  I  went  forth  to 
hunt  for  flowers.  Climbing  a  steep  hill  about 
two  miles  distant  we  found  a  mass  of  Cape 
jasmine,  and  returned  laden  with  the  spoil. 
These  flowers  filled  the  huts  with  exquisite 
perfume,  and  lent  something  of  poetry  to  the 
rude  surroundings. 

The  marriage  took  place  at  four  in  the 
afternoon,  in  a  hut  which  we  had  draped  with 
blue  and  white  limbo  for  the  occasion.  Mr. 
Sewell  officiated ;  the  Resident  Magistrate 
gave  the  bride  away. 

vii  IN  MASHONALAND  211 

Dr.  Lichfield  looked  quite  smart  in  a  new 
Karkee  suit,  and  Mrs.  Lichfield  extremely 
nice  in  a  white  serge  uniform  frock.  Most 
fortunately,  none  of  her  luggage  had  been 
lost  on  its  way  from  the  coast. 

After  the  ceremony  the  party  adjourned 
to  another  hut,  and  partook  of  tea  in  tin 
mugs.  The  cake  never  appeared.  The 
baker  was  keeping  Christmas !  Then  the 
Doctor  and  his  bride  walked  across  to  the 
township,  where  he  had  put  up  a  few 
picturesque  huts,  which  Mrs.  Lichfield  decor- 
ated very  prettily. 

Christmas  Day  dawned  on  an  already 
excited  community.  I  do  not  think  it  is 
exaggerating  to  say  that  by  noon  every  one 
in  the  place,  with  the  exception  of  three  or 
four  men,  was  very  tipsy  indeed. 

A  deputation  of  police  came  to  wish  us  a 
"  Merry  Christmas."  They  confided  to  us 
that  they  were  great  scamps,  but  would 
always  stand  by  us.  "  If  a  civilian  looksh 
atsh  you,  Sistersh,  you  justsh  sendsh  to  ush," 
exclaimed  these  excellent  fellows,  propping 

212  ADVENTURES  chap. 

themselves  up  against  the  hut.  We  thanked 
them,  and  watched  them  striding  away,  in 
long  curves,  to  the  camp.  Presently  they 
returned.  They  wished  to  present  us  with  a 
cow,  —  would  we  do  them  the  favour  of 
accepting  ?  We  would — with  pleasure.  We 
had  patients  in  hospital,  and  had  not  yet 
bought  any  cows.  Milk  would  be  a  great 
boon.  Thereupon  they  retired,  this  time 
taking  a  decidedly  zig-zag  course.  No  cow, 
however,  appeared  ;  and,  to  our  great  amuse- 
ment, we  heard  that  the  "  deputation "  had 
stolen  a  cow  for  us.  I  think  the  animal  had 
strayed  into  the  camp.  As  our  friends  were 
driving  it  to  the  hospital,  the  infuriated 
owner  swooped  down  on  them,  routed  the 
gallant  but  unsteady  police,  and  carried  off 
his  cow  in  triumph.  Perhaps  the  generosity 
of  our  friends  was  somewhat  misplaced,  but 
they  were  kindly  souls. 

Christmas  Day  was  devoted  to  sports  of 
various  kinds ;  but,  before  the  afternoon  was 
far  spent,  the  good-natured  stage  of  drunken- 
ness was  replaced  by  the  quarrelsome  one. 

vii  IN  MASHONALAND  213 

A  free  fight  took  place  round  the  too-well- 
supplied  refreshment  waggon.  The  Civil 
Commissioner  announced  his  intention  of 
tearing  the  Resident  Magistrate,  who  was 
also  Officer  in  Command,  from  his  horse. 
This  official  ordered  the  Civil  Commissioner 
to  be  arrested.  Friends  of  the  latter  declared 
that  no  one  but  the  Administrator  had  power 
to  do  so.  Nevertheless  he  was  arrested,  and 
whirled  across  the  plain,  to  the  Police  Camp. 
Were  his  thumbs  to  be  tied  ?  That  was  the 
great  question.  Meanwhile  the  Magistrate 
suspended  the  Civil  Commissioner  from  his 
functions.  He  in  his  turn  suspended  the 
Magistrate.  Hubbub  and  confusion  followed. 
Before  midnight  all  the  police  were  under 
arrest,  we  were  told — the  last  man  having 
provoked  his  punishment  by  holding  a  candle 
crooked,  whilst  the  Magistrate  himself  tied 
the  thumbs  of  some  of  his  prisoners  ! 

Next  day  all  was  forgotten  and  forgiven. 
At  a  banquet,  followed  by  a  smoking  concert, 
the  Civil  Commissioner  and  the  Magis- 
trate drank  each  others'  healths.      Each  man 

214  ADVENTURES  chap. 

swore  that  the  other  was  the  best  fellow  he 
had  ever  met.  Till  the  end  of  the  year,  says 
my  diary,  camp  and  township  remained  "on 
the  burst." 

No  attempt  at  holding  service  having 
been  made,  we  wrote  to  Mr.  Sewell  offering 
him  the  hospital  till  he  could  have  a  church- 
hut  erected.  He  came  to  see  us,  making  a 
more  favourable  impression  than  at  his  first 
visit,  and  it  was  settled  that  he  should  hold  a 
service  on  New  Year's  Eve,  and  regularly 
every  Sunday.  He  talked  quite  earnestly 
about  his  endeavours  to  do  good,  and  very 
likely  he  was  in  earnest.  He  preached  well, 
having  much  command  of  language ;  and, 
had  he  chosen,  he  might  have  been  a  great 
influence  for  good  in  Umtali. 

On  the  2nd  of  January,  1892,  Colonel 
Pennefather  rode  into  the  camp.  Every  one 
rejoiced  to  see  him.  He  told  us  he  pro- 
jected spending  the  rainy  season  in  Manica, 
and  set  to  work  at  once  to  make  his 
hut  comfortable.  Great,  therefore,  was  the 
general  surprise,  when,  on  the  4th  of  January, 

vii  IN  MASHONALAND  215 

a  runner  brought  him  a  dispatch  informing 
him  that  the  Military  Police  were  to  be 
disbanded,  and  a  Civil  Police  created. 
The  Colonel's  services  would,  therefore,  no 
longer  be  required.  He  could  rejoin  his 
regiment  when  he  pleased.  In  point  of 
fact  the  Company  was  retrenching  in  all 
directions.  A  Civil  Government  had  been 
established.  The  Military  Police  were 
considered  both  expensive  and  unnecessary. 

The  announcement  was  too  sudden  not  to 
be  unpleasant,  but  the  Colonel  took  the  affair 
very  calmly.  "  I've  received  the  Order  of 
the  Sack,  Sister."  That  was  all  he  said 
about  it.  We  were  very  sorry  indeed  to  say 
good  -  bye  to  him.  We  had  hoped  that, 
besides  keeping  camp  and  township  in  order, 
he  would  prove  a  pleasant  neighbour. 
However  there  was  no  help  for  it.  Needs 
must  when  a  retrenching  Administrator 


The  hospital  —  Patients — Work  —  Contrivances  —  Project 
of  brick  hospital — Poultry  yard  —  Capricious  hens — 
Mashona  cows — The  bread  question — Our  baker — 
Attempts  to  bake  himself — A  breadless  community — 
Montague  Bowden — His  last  game  of  cricket — His 
illness  and  death  —  Scaring  off  wild  beasts  —  The 
funeral  —  Our  dispenser  "on  the  burst"  —  Opium 
poisoning — Dispenser  attempts  suicide — Imprisoned — 
Our  protest — Dispenser  dismissed — Illness  of  Sister 
Lucy — Flight  of  natives — A  terrible  week — Drink — 
An  extraordinary  bill — Departure  of  magistrate — The 
reign  of  Law  in  Manica — Birth  of  first  English  child 
in  Mashonaland — Serious  illness  of  Mrs.  Tulloch — 
Our  huts  burnt  to  the  ground  —  Narrow  escape  of 
Mrs.  Tulloch  — A  tipsy  fire  brigade — Generosity — 
Arrival  of  Dr.  Matthew  Johnston — Our  patient  saved 
—  Christening  of  Cecil  Rhodes  Tulloch  —  He  leaves 
the  hospital  in  triumph. 

The  hospital  was  soon  in  working  order, 
and  rarely  without  patients.  Indeed  from 
January  to  September,  it  was  never  empty 
for  a   day.       Referring  to  my  diary,    I   see 

chap,  viii  ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND   217 

that  from  the  middle  of  January  till  nearly 
the  end  of  March,  we  left  the  hospital 
compound  once  only.  Or  in  English  nurs- 
ing parlance,  we  had  one  afternoon  off 

It  was  the  unbroken  continuity  of  work 
which  made  it  trying,  rather  than  its  arduous 
nature.  The  native  servants  were  most 
uncertain.  They  came  and  went  at  their 
own  caprice.  Sometimes  we  had  a  good 
staff,  sometimes  only  one  boy  for  every- 
thing. In  no  case  was  it  safe  to  send 
even  a  cup  of  milk  over  to  the  hospital 
by  a  native.  He  was  pretty  sure  to  give 
it  to  the  wrong  person. 

Some  of  the  cases  were  slight,  chiefly 
requiring  rest  in  bed  and  good  food  ; 
others  were  brought  in  from  the  Veldt 
in  a  serious  condition,  and  demanded  con- 
stant attention.  When  these  more  serious 
cases  were  in  hospital,  we  took  it  in  turns 
to  remain  for  twenty -four  hours  on  duty. 
Tiring  as  this  was,  we  found  it  answered 
better  than   if  one  of  us  had   remained  on 

2i8  ADVENTURES  chap. 

night  duty,  and  the  other  on  day.  What 
with  cooking,  nursing,  and  the  general 
superintendence  of  the  natives,  the  work 
involved  in  keeping  huts,  hospital,  and 
compound  in  a  state  of  spotless  cleanli- 
ness was  considerable.  One  Sister  on  day 
duty  would  have  had  to  work  without  pause 
from  six  in  the  morning  till  night  time. 
Hard  work  soon  tells  on  women  and  men 
in  a  tropical  climate.  However  we  both 
had  excellent  health,  were  both  really  fond 
of  nursing,  and  did  not  grudge  the  hard 

Little  by  little  the  great  barn,  dignified 
by  the  name  of  "  hospital  "  became,  con- 
sidering the  circumstances,  a  comfortable 
retreat.  Sister  Lucy  made  some  capital 
wooden  trays  out  of  packing-cases.  Our 
white  linen  aprons  were  useless,  for  we 
had  no  time  to  starch  and  iron.  Indeed, 
there  was  no  starch  to  be  had.  We,  there- 
fore, converted  them  into  napkins  for  the 
hospital  trays.  By  means  of  these  con- 
trivances    we     were     able     to     serve    the 

vin  IN  MASHONALAND  219 

patients'  food,  such  as  it  was,  nicely  enough. 
Every  one  knows  that  the  manner  in  which 
nourishment  is  offered  to  a  sick  man  is 
very  nearly  as  important  as  the  food  itself. 
I  think  our  trays,  rude  as  they  were,  with 
their  white  napkins  and  little  bunches  of 
flowers,  often  tempted  a  patient  to  eat, 
and  so  gave  him  a  first  impulse  towards 

We  were  lucky  enough  to  secure  a 
number  of  Italian  silk  rugs  from  a  trader, 
who  had  brought  them  to  Mashonaland, 
"  on  spec "  as  he  said.  They  served  as 
quilts,  and  their  bright  colours  gave  the 
wards  a  very  cheery  air.  When  we  had 
covered  the  mud  walls  with  the  pale  prim- 
rose-coloured native  mats,  and  had  obtained 
brick  floors,  and  cupboards  for  blankets, 
dressings,  and  sundries,  we  felt  we  could 
do  little  more  to  the  place.  It  was  then 
that  we  turned  our  attentions  to  col- 
lecting money  for  the  creation  of  a  brick 

We    had    bought    cows,    and    started    a 


poultry  yard.  The  hospital  was,  therefore, 
plentifully  supplied  with  milk,  eggs,  and 
fowls.  The  fowls  proved  very  trouble- 
some. A  Mashona  hen  is  a  thoroughly 
undisciplined  bird.  She  lays  her  tiny  eggs 
in  a  rush,  and  then  refuses  to  lay  for 
weeks.  If  you  keep  her  shut  up,  however 
large  the  enclosure,  you  will  not  get  an 
egg.  If  you  let  her  run  free,  she  lays 
in  the  most  inconvenient  places — preferably 
in  one's  bed.  Therefore,  as  soon  as  one 
or  two  neighbours  started  poultry  farms, 
we  gave  up  our  fowls. 

It  was  some  time,  too,  before  we  could 
manage  our  cows.  The  breed  in  Mashona- 
land  is  small  and  very  pretty,  not  unlike  the 
Kerry  cow.  But  what  a  difference  in  dis- 
position !  The  Mashona  cow  refuses  to  give 
any  milk,  unless  she  is  first  allowed  to  feed 
her  calf  for  a  few  moments.  The  calf  is  then 
dragged  away  and  held  under  the  cow's  nose, 
whilst  a  native  milks  hurriedly.  For  a  short 
time  the  cow  appears  unaware  of  what  is 
going  on.     Then  suddenly  the  milk  ceases. 

viii  IN  MASHON ALAND  221 

The  calf  is  again  had  recourse  to,  and  is 
again  torn  away.  So  it  goes  on  till  a  certain 
amount  of  milk  is  obtained.  Milking  is  thus 
a  long  process,  involving  great  noise,  low- 
ings,  and  shoutings.  Sometimes  cow  and 
calf  burst  their  bonds  and  escape,  with  a 
crowd  of  yelling  natives  after  them.  A  very 
good  cow  gives  twelve  pints  of  milk  a  day. 
Such  a  milker  is  indeed  a  treasure.  From 
six  to  eight  pints  is  the  usual  quantity  ob- 
tained. We  left  the  hospital  in  possession 
of  a  herd  of  ten  beautiful  cows.  It  gave  one 
a  delightful  homelike  feeling  to  see  them 
driven  up  from  the  pastures  in  the  evening. 
One  or  two  of  them  were  great  favourites, 
and  would  trot  up  to  have  their  heads 
scratched,  and  get. a  crust  of  bread. 

Though  Umtali  owned  a  baker,  and  there 
were  moments  when  he  sold  very  good  little 
cakes,  yet  we  were  never  quite  sure  whether 
he  was  going  to  send  any  bread  or  not.  For 
a  long  time  it  came  at  all  sorts  of  hours  and 
in  all  sorts  of  conditions.  Having  asked  one 
day  why  there  were  so  many  pebbles  in  the 

222  ADVENTURES  chap. 

loaves,  I  was  told  that  it  was  owing  to  the 
baker's  method  of  kneading  his  dough. 
Being  generally  "  on  the  burst,"  he  had  great 
difficulty  in  mixing  his  flour.  When  it  was 
ready  for  kneading,  he  would  think  he  saw 
masses  of  dough  all  round  him.  Then,  after 
making  rushes  in  every  direction,  and  failing 
to  grasp  anything  solid,  he  would  pull  him- 
self together,  and  dash  at  his  table,  falling 
presently  with  a  clash  into  the  dough,  and 
rolling  with  it  on  the  floor.  One  day,  the 
story  goes,  he  tried  to  bake  himself  in  his 
own  oven.  His  natives  pulled  him  out,  and 
put  him  to  bed.  They  did  not  see  that  the 
dough  was  in  bed  before  him,  so  the  next 
day  Manica  was  breadless.  Such  tales  are 
very  likely  to  have  been  exaggerated.  I  tell 
them  as  they  were  told  to  me.  They  are 
certainly  strictly  in  character  and  true  to 
local  colour. 

To  return  to  the  hospital.  Our  day  was 
mapped  out  as  follows.  At  six  o'clock  one 
of  us  called  the  natives,  had  fires  lit  and  tea 
made,   served    round    the    early    tea   to    the 

viii  IN  MASHONALAND  223 

patients,  and  saw  the  hospital  boy  start  sweep- 
ing. For  a  long  time  we  had  no  brooms, 
but  used  branches  of  a  sort  of  aromatic 
shrub,  which  left  a  pleasant  fresh  smell. 
Then  the  beds  were  made,  blankets  put  out 
in  the  sun,  bed  tables  scrubbed,  tempera- 
tures taken,  medicines  given,  and  the  patients 
washed.  Meanwhile,  whichever  of  us  was 
not  taking  the  hospital  work  that  morning 
went  to  the  kitchen,  saw  it  thoroughly 
cleaned,  and  had  all  the  water-buckets  filled 
for  the  day.  Then  the  patients'  trays  were 
put  ready,  and  their  breakfasts  prepared. 
These  were  sent  over  to  the  hospital  at  about 
a  quarter  to  eight.  First  the  full  diets, 
generally  consisting  of  porridge,  coffee,  or 
tea,  toast,  eggs  or  rissoles,  which  we  manu- 
factured fairly  successfully.  Then  the  light 
diets  were  sent  over.  Cases  on  liquid  diet 
were  fed  in  small  quantities,  and  often,  night 
and  day  of  course.  After  the  hospital  break- 
fast was  served,  ours  was  cooked.  Then  we 
saw  to  the  washing  up  of  all  the  things,  the 
sweeping  of  our   huts    and    the    compound, 

224  ADVENTURES  chap. 

sent  for  the  meat,  and  prepared  for  dinner. 
Between  ten  and  eleven  the  doctor  went 
round,  and,  after  his  visit,  there  were  often, 
of  course,  fresh  medicines,  lotions,  and  so  on, 
to  be  attended  to.  At  eleven  the  patients 
had  luncheon — beef-tea  or  milk — and  there 
were  generally  a  good  many  odds  and  ends 
to  do,  as  nursing  does  not  consist  only  in 
running  round  and  serving  medicines  or  food. 
Then  came  temperatures  and  medicines  again. 
At  half-past  twelve  there  was  dinner,  followed 
by  our  luncheon.  Then  the  patients  had  a 
small  wash,  and  generally  went  to  sleep. 
The  natives  were  very  slow  about  washing 
up,  so  we  took  it  in  turns  to  watch  them 
clean  and  put  everything  tidily  away.  Un- 
less there  were  bad  cases  in  hospital 
there  was  generally  a  respite  till  half-past 
three,  when  the  blankets  were  taken  in  out 
of  the  sun,  and  put  away.  Then  came 
medicine  and  temperatures  again,  and  tea, 
and,  after  that,  the  doctor  went  round.  When 
our  tea  was  finished,  the  patients'  beds  were 
re-made.     Supper  followed.     We  had  ours  as 

vin  IN  MASHONALAND  225 

soon  after  as  possible.  When  this  repast  was 
finished,  one  of  us  saw  to  everything  being 
washed  and  put  away ;  while  the  other  went 
over  to  the  hospital,  took  temperatures,  gave 
medicines,  supplied  drinks  for  the  night,  and 
made  every  one  as  comfortable  as  possible. 
If  the  cases  were  not  severe,  and  did  not 
require  attention  at  night,  we  did  not  sit  up. 
A  native  slept  within,  in  the  small  middle 
room  between  the  two  wards,  in  case  of  an 
emergency.  This  was  the  routine,  which 
lasted  without  a  break  from  January,  1892,  to 
September,  1892.  It  was  somewhat  varied 
by  bad  cases,  which  could  not  be  left  night 
or  day  ;  and  by  the  disappearance  of  natives, 
which  obliged  one  to  do  the  cleaning  instead 
of  seeing  that  it  was  done  ;  but  on  the  whole 
it  was  continuous. 

In  September,  1892,  we  obtained  a  cook, 
which  lightened  the  work  much,  and  gave  us 
some  leisure.  By  this  time,  too,  contact 
with  white  men  had  much  improved  the  boys, 
and  they  became  more  like  those  to  be  met 
with  in  Kimberley  and  Johannesburg.  If 


they  were  taught  their  work  they  would 
begin  it,  and  go  on  with  it  without  continual 
following  up.  Every  month  of  the  last  six 
months  we  spent  at  Umtali  made  the  condi- 
tions of  life  easier,  and  we  were  able  to  leave 
the  incoming  nurses  in  comparatively  com- 
fortable surroundings. 

The  first  case  we  lost  in  New  Umtali  was 
Mr.  Montague  Bowden,  the  well  -  known 
cricketer.  He  was  singularly  handsome, 
popular,  and  with  every  chance  of  success  in 
trading  and  prospecting  enterprises. 

In  February  1892  Mr.  Bowden,  while 
travelling  from  Salisbury  to  Umtali,  was 
thrown  from  his  cart,  but  was  apparently 
uninjured.  The  day  after  his  arrival  he 
played  in  a  cricket  match,  and  it  was  observed 
that  he  was  in  bad  form.  The  next  day  but 
one  he  had  an  epileptic  seizure,  and  was 
conveyed  to  the  hospital.  His  temperature 
rose  to  107,  and  he  passed  away  very  peace- 
fully on  the  fourth  day  after  his  admittance. 
On  account  of  the  heat  it  was  necessary  to 
keep  the  doors  and  windows  of  the  room, 

vin  IN  MASHONALAND  227 

where  he  lay,  wide  open,  and  a  man  with  a 
loaded  revolver  sat  there  all  night  to  protect 
the  corpse  from  wild  beasts. 

Next  day  he  was  buried,  the  whole  com- 
munity attending  his  funeral.  With  great 
difficulty,  owing  to  the  scarcity  of  wood, 
a  coffin  had  been  made  out  of  whisky  cases. 
It  was  covered  with  dark  blue  limbo.  A 
card,  bearing  his  name  and  age,  was  nailed  to 
the  lid.  Beneath  it  we  placed  a  large  cross 
of  flowers.  The  remains  were  carried  across 
the  compound  to  a  bullock -cart,  and  the 
melancholy  procession  started.  We  lingered 
to  watch  it  wind  across  the  plain,  until  it  dis- 
appeared from  view,  and  then  with  sad  steps 
returned  to  the  wards. 

Almost  immediately  after  Mr.  Bowden's 
death  a  great  disturbance  was  caused  by  the 
behaviour  of  our  dispenser.  He  had  been 
"on  the  burst"  more  or  less  ever  since 
Christmas,  and  took  to  giving  out  medicines 
without  measuring  them.  One  of  the  patients 
was  taking  powders  which  contained  a  certain 
amount  of  opium,  and,  after  swallowing  two 

238  ADVENTURES  chap. 

or  three  of  these  powders,  he  began  to  show 
symptoms  which  seemed  to  point  to  opium 
poisoning.  Suspecting  what  had  happened, 
we  had  the  powders  re-weighed,  and  found 
he  was  taking  nearly  four  times  the  quantity 
of  opium  prescribed  in  each  dose.  The 
doctor  was  hurriedly  sent  for.  He  said 
there  was  no  doubt  about  the  patient's 
symptoms,  and  ordered  the  usual  antidotes 
to  be  employed.  The  Magistrate  then 
appeared  on  the  scene. 

Hearing  what  he  had  done,  the  dispenser 
seized  a  bottle  of  laudanum,  and  fled  towards 
the  river.  After  him  went  the  Magistrate 
and  his  myrmidons,  recruiting  several 
amateur  police  on  the  way.  The  dispenser 
had  a  considerable  start,  however,  the  grass 
was  already  long,  the  chase  promised  to  be 
exciting.  Would  he  have  swallowed  the 
poison  before  they  could  reach  him  ?  Use- 
less fears  !  The  fugitive  had  carried  off  not 
only  a  phial  of  laudanum,  but  a  bottle  of 
whisky.  When  he  was  caught  the  phial  was 
full,  the  bottle  empty !     He  was  marched  to 

vni  IN  MASHONALAND  229 

the  camp,  and  lodged  in  gaol ;  native  police- 
men with  levelled  rifles  watched  him  night 
and  day.  Finally,  he  was  released,  and 
requested  "  not  to  try  it  on  again." 

Of  course  he  ceased  to  be  the  hospital 
dispenser.  I  say  "  of  course,"  but  probably, 
if  we  had  not  made  a  stand,  he  would  have 
been  reinstated  in  his  dispensary.  Hearing 
that  there  was  some  question  of  it,  we  sent 
the  Magistrate  a  formal  declaration  to  the 
effect  that  we  must  refuse  to  administer 
medicines  prepared  by  this  man.  The 
matter  was  referred  to  the  Administrator, 
and  a  great  inquiry  followed.  About  a 
hundred  and  fifty  sheets  of  foolscap,  covered 
with  affirmations  and  declarations,  came  and 
went  between  Fort  Salisbury  and  Umtali, 
and  in  the  end  the  dispenser  was  dis- 

A  month  or  two  later  Dr.  Lichfield  left. 
He  is  now  district  surgeon  at  Victoria.  Dr. 
Matthew  Johnston  from  St.  Bartholomew's 
took  his  place. 

Before  this  change  was  effected,  however, 

230  ADVENTURES  chap. 

I  nearly  lost  Sister  Lucy.  She  fell  ill  in 
March  ;  that  same  day  all  our  natives  fled.  I 
had  one  little  boy,  eight  years  of  age,  to  do 
everything.  There  were  only  six  cases  in 
hospital,  but  four  were  desperately  bad,  and 
two  were  convalescents,  just  beginning  to  be 

From  five  in  the  morning  till  ten  at  night 
I  was  unceasingly  at  work,  going  from  Sister 
Lucy  to  the  hospital,  thence  to  the  kitchen. 
There  was  no  idea  of  going  to  bed.  Sister 
Lucy  was  much  too  ill  for  that.  I  had  a 
white  man  sitting  up  in  the  hospital,  but  it 
was  necessary  to  go  across  continually.  The 
police  volunteered  their  help  when  Sister 
Lucy  got  worse,  and  kindly  undertook  the 
kitchen  work,  which  was  an  immense  help. 

I  cannot  describe  the  anxiety  of  that  week, 
it  was  like  an  evil  dream  to  look  back  upon. 
I  lost  one  patient,  a  fever  case,  with  bad 

Sister  Lucy  never  had  a  very  high  tem- 
perature ;  her  fever  took  the  form  of  constant 
vomiting   and    tendency    to    collapse.       She 

vin  IN  MASHONALAND  231 

used  to  say  that  the  worst  part  of  it  all  was 
when  she  was  a  little  better.  She  could  not 
reconcile  herself  to  being  in  bed,  whilst  she 
heard  the  sound  of  my  steps,  backwards  and 
forwards,  all  day  long.  The  heat,  too,  was 
burning — the  sun  actually  seemed  to  sting  as 
it  touched  one.  It  is  these  first  hot  days, 
when  the  rains  are  nearly  over,  that  bring 
the  worst  phases  of  fever.  However,  Sister 
Lucy  happily  recovered,  and  was  soon  able 
to  take  her  share  of  the  work. 

About  this  time  we  lost  another  patient. 
He  was  brought  in  unconscious  after  a 
tremendous  "  burst."  He  died  after  a  suc- 
cession of  the  most  terrible  epileptiform 
attacks  I  have  ever  seen.  When  his  affairs 
were  examined,  it  was  found  that  out  of  a 
bill  to  the  amount  of  ^50,  ^39  were  due 
for  whisky ! 

The  Resident  Magistrate,  one  of  the 
kindest  and  best  fellows  in  the  world,  now 
left  Umtali.  He  was  replaced  by  another 
man,  the  third  who  had  governed  Manica 
in  our  short  experience. 

232  ADVENTURES  chap. 

The  new  Magistrate  was  a  business-like 
person.  At  first  we  were  afraid  that  he 
too  was  tarred  with  the  usual  Umtali  brush, 
as  his  hand  shook  so  much  that  he  could  not 
hold  a  tea-cup  steadily. 

We  were  mistaken.  With  his  advent 
began  the  reign  of  law  and  order.  Regular 
hours  for  the  opening  and  shutting  of  bars 
were  established.  Between  its  periodical 
"  bursts,"  the  township  enjoyed  long  intervals 
of  sobriety.  Perhaps  for  a  week  at  a  time 
not  a  case  of  drunkenness  would  occur,  and 
in  proportion  to  the  decrease  of  drink,  so 
did  the  fever  diminish,  without,  however, 
entirely  dying  out. 

Civilisation  now  began  to  make  progress 
in  Mashonaland,  the  stores  were  well  sup- 
plied, creature  comforts  were  plentiful.  The 
projected  railway  from  Beira  to  Umtali  was 
much  talked  of.  We  were  assured  that 
when  we  left  Umtali  in  1893,  we  should 
depart  in  the  train,  and  to  a  certain  extent 
this  prediction  was  verified. 

Meanwhile  an  interesting  event  occurred. 

vin  IN  MASHONALAND  233 

The  first  English  baby  was  born  in  Mashona- 
land.  Mrs.  Tulloch,  the  plucky  wife  of  a 
prospector,  had  had  herself,  as  has  been 
already  mentioned,  and  two  children  carried 
up  in  machilas  from  the  coast.  She  arrived 
whilst  we  were  still  in  Old  Umtali,  and  had 
but  lately  come  over  to  the  new  township. 

We  offered  her  the  use  of  one  of  our  huts 
for  the  confinement,  but  she  preferred  remain- 
ing at  home,  and  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Lichfield 
undertook  to  look  after  her.  The  very  day 
the  child  was  born,  Mr.  Tulloch  was  carried 
into  hospital  in  a  semi-delirious  state.  We 
had  several  patients  in  hospital  at  the  time, 
but,  had  we  imagined  that  the  poor  mother 
would  have  been  left  alone  all  night,  one 
of  us  would  certainly  have  gone  to  her. 
As  it  was,  she  spent  the  whole  of  that  night 
alone  with  her  children,  and  a  native  boy, 
who  fled  before  morning.  A  native  woman 
from  the  coast,  obtained  with  much  difficulty, 
was  also  there,  but  stupid  with  drink.  The 
hut  had  no  door,  and  was  at  some  distance 
from  neighbours. 

234  ADVENTURES  chap. 

Bad  symptoms  set  in  during  the  night. 
In  the  morning  when  the  doctor  called,  he 
found,  to  his  horror,  that  a  number  of  wild 
natives  had  entered  the  hut,  and  were  sitting 
round  the  patient's  bed  clamouring  for  her 
to  trade.  He  very  quickly  got  rid  of  them, 
but  Mrs.  Tulloch  was  in  a  high  fever.  It 
was  urgent  to  remove  her  to  the  hospital,  so 
we  hurriedly  prepared  a  hut  for  her  recep- 
tion, and  sent  the  ambulance  to  fetch  her. 
She  was  in  a  critical  condition,  and  we  had 
little  hope  of  saving  her. 

One  wild,  windy  evening,  as  we  were 
attending  to  her,  a  gust  of  wind  tore  out  the 
limbo  that  was  nailed  over  the  window,  and 
sent  it  fluttering  into  the  candle.  In  less 
time  than  it  takes  to  describe,  the  whole  hut 
was  in  a  blaze.  A  straw  from  the  roof  had 
caught  fire,  and  long  ladders  of  flame  ran  up 
the  thatch.  We  tried  to  tear  it  down,  to 
throw  up  water — in  vain.  Sister  Lucy  ran 
to  the  dispenser's  hut,  where  Mr.  Tulloch 
happened  to  be  dining.  I  remained  with  his 

vin  IN  MASHONALAND  ,  235 

Meanwhile  burning  thatch  began  to  fall 
into  the  hut.  Plucky  as  she  was,  I  feared 
Mrs.  Tulloch  would  lose  her  presence  of 
mind,  and  jump  out  of  bed.  Wrapping  a 
blanket  round  her,  I  carried  her  to  the  door, 
and  soon  had  the  satisfaction  of  seeing  her 
husband  carry  her  over  to  the  hospital,  where 
there  was  an  empty  ward. 

All  our  huts  caught  fire,  and  the  flames 
lit  up  the  whole  valley.  Magistrate  and 
police  rushed  over  from  the  camp,  tore  down 
the  blazing  thatch,  and  saved  what  things 
they  could  from  the  general  destruction. 
The  whole  of  Umtali,  in  fact,  precipitated 
itself  from  the  township  to  the  hospital. 

The  men  were  eager  to  help,  but  were 
hardly  in  a  condition  to  be  of  much  use.  In 
a  burst  of  zeal  one  man  rushed  to  the  river, 
a  third  of  a  mile  away,  and  fetched  a  bucket 
of  water.  Just  as  he  reached  the  hospital,  he 
tumbled  head  over  heels,  giving  himself  a 
thorough  drenching.  Then,  cooled  and 
sobered,  he  retired  to  bed,  and  was  heard  of 
no  more.     One  of  the  guardians  of  law  and 

236  ADVENTURES  chap. 

order  dropped  a  bottle  of  whisky  as  he 
lurched  across  the  compound.  On  this  the 
doctor  pounced,  declaring  it  forfeited  to  the 
hospital.  Other  men  piled  the  thatch  back  on 
the  fire,  and  nearly  burnt  down  the  hospital. 
One  man,  at  the  peril  of  his  life,  rushed  into 
the  burning  hut,  shouting,  "  Down,  flames  ;  I 
command  you  to  go  out."  He  was  promptly 
dragged  out,  and  marched  off  to  prison,  where, 
I  heard,  he  complained  bitterly  of  the  green 
spiders  and  other  abnormal  reptiles. 

With  great  difficulty  the  kitchen  was 
saved.  We  had  the  sweetest  little  black- 
faced  monkey.  It  went  quite  mad  with 
fright,  and  bit  me  badly  as  I  carried  it  out  of 
the  kitchen,  and  we  had  to  keep  it  in  the  dark 
for  a  whole  day,  before  its  nerves  recovered 
from  the  shock.  At  last  we  got  the  com- 
pound clear,  and  arranged  ourselves  as  best 
we  could  in  the  hospital.  I  must  not  forget 
to  say,  that  when  the  men  got  back  to  the 
township,  they  sent  us  over  everything  they 
could  think  of  that  might  be  of  any  use. 
People  may  be  very  foolish  and  tipsy  in  a 

vin  IN  MASHONALAND  237 

pioneer  camp,  but  they  are  also  very  generous 
and  warm-hearted — qualities  which  cover  a 
multitude  of  sins. 

For  a  few  days  after  this  excitement,  Mrs. 
Tulloch  appeared  to  improve,  but  then  she 
became  worse  than  ever.  For  eleven  days 
and  nights,  Sister  Lucy  and  I  never  rested 
for  more  than  an  hour  or  so  at  a  time.  One 
had  the  baby,  the  other  took  the  mother. 
Very  naturally,  the  baby,  after  the  first  few 
days,  was  a  perfect  little  demon  of  fretfulness. 
In  the  midst  of  our  anxiety,  Dr.  Johnston, 
from  Salisbury,  came  to  replace  Dr.  Lichfield. 
He  never  expected  to  pull  our  patient 
through,  but  eventually  succeeded  in  doing  so. 

Seven  weeks  after  his  birth,  "  Cecil 
Rhodes  Tulloch "  was  christened  in  one  of 
our  newly  built  huts  by  Canon  Balfour,  who 
at  this  time  came  for  a  few  days  to  Umtali. 
After  the  ceremony  Mrs.  Tulloch  was  borne 
away  in  a  machila  ;  a  small  boy  carrying  the 
newly  made  Christian.  A  baby's  bottle  had 
been  improvised  out  of  a  pickle  bottle,  and  a 
glass   tube   run   through   a  cork.     This    the 

238    ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND     ch.  viii 

natives  concluded  to  be  something  very 
precious.  One  boy  headed  the  march,  hold- 
ing it  aloft.  Thus,  borne  away  in  triumphant 
procession,  the  baby  which  had  tyrannised 
over  us  for  so  long  vanished  out  of  our  lives 
for  ever. 


A  free  day — A  visit  to  Chiconga — Climbing  a  kopje — The 
kraal — Gungunyama's  raids — The  council  hut — The 
chieftainess  and  her  "  warriors  " — Her  answer  to  the 
Bishop — We  trade — Fashion  amongst  natives — A  blind 
Lovelace — Instance  of  ferocity — Kissing — Intelligent 
children — Absence  of  religious  notions — Differences 
of  language — Ancient  gold  workings — Worship  of 
Isis — Mosaic  Law — Small-pox — Inoculation — Native 
vanity — Inferior  iron-work — Carved  snuff-boxes — Fire- 
sticks — Principal  food — Produce — Curious  calabashes 
— Disgusting  reports — Chiconga's  return  visit — A 
chief's  assegai — A  demand  for  fire-water — A  Woman's 
Rights  argument — The  royal  baby — An  endless  visit — 
Jonosso  to  the  rescue — The  Queen  retires. 

Taking  advantage  of  one  of  the  rare  occa- 
sions when  we  had  a  free  day,  we  paid  a 
visit  to  Chiconga,  M'Tassa's  favourite  daugh- 
ter. The  chieftainess  inhabited  a  kraal  five 
miles  distant  from  New  Umtali.  It  was  said 
to  be  a  very  picturesque  spot,  and  well  worth 
a  visit.     Accompanied  by  Mr.  Walter  Sutton, 

240  ADVENTURES  chap. 

and  attended  by  two  native  boys,  we  there- 
fore set  out  one  morning  soon  after  six 
o'clock.  We  were  on  foot ;  the  boys  carry- 
ing beads  and  limbo,  as  we  wished  to  trade 
for  a  cow. 

Our  path  led  us  for  some  distance  along 
the  high  road  to  Fort  Salisbury,  a  picturesque 
track,  winding  between  thickly-wooded  hills. 
Here  and  there  it  struck  over  the  open  veldt, 
skirting  the  strange  granite  kopjes,  which 
form  an  important  feature  in  Mashonaland 
landscape.  These  piles  of  colossal  boulders, 
springing  abruptly  from  a  tableland  of  veldt, 
look  as  if  they  had  been  built  up  by  giants. 
Trees  clothe  the  summit  of  these  kopjes,  and 
wild  beasts  lurk  in  the  caves  formed  by  their 
overhanging  rocks. 

On  the  topmost  pinnacle  of  the  largest  of 
them,  Chiconga  and  her  people  had  built 
their  village.  From  this  eminence  the  ap- 
proach of  an  enemy  could  be  distinguished 
whilst  he  was  yet  miles  away.  Nor  was  the 
precaution  a  vain  one.  The  Mashonas  are 
a    nation    of    rabbits    scared    by    a   gesture, 


peaceful  and  indolent.  But  Gungunyama, 
the  great  Gazaland  chief,  has,  more  than 
once,  sent  his  warriors  to  raid  in  Manica. 
We  were  told  that  it  had  often  happened 
that  three  or  four  of  his  men  entered  a  kraal, 
massacred  a  hundred  Mashonas,  and  carried 
off  women  and  cattle,  without  encounter- 
ing an  attempt  at  resistance.  Hence  the 
Mashonas  build  their  villages  in  the  most 
inaccessible  places. 

We  found  Chiconga's  kraal  very  difficult 
to  reach.  The  path  was  so  steep  as  to  be 
almost  perpendicular.  Only  one  person 
could  advance  at  a  time,  and  without  the 
aid  of  our  surefooted  boys  we  should  never 
have  reached  the  summit.  Hot  and  breath- 
less, we  were  glad  to  rest  on  a  grassy  plateau 
outside  the  high  stockade  which  enclosed 
the  kraal. 

Here  a  number  of  natives  were  lying  under 
the  shadow  of  a  tree.  Some  were  binding 
together  the  split  reeds  of  which  native  mats 
are  made.  Others  were  playing  a  game 
that  seemed  nearly  related  to  draughts.     The 


men  were  made  of  bits  of  wood ;  the  board 
had  been  roughly  mapped  out  on  the  rock 
with  the  "chipanga,"  or  knife,  which  all 
natives  carry.  One  and  all  professed  great 
surprise  at  our  appearance,  though  of  course 
we  knew  they  had  seen  our  approach  more 
than  an  hour  before,  and  had  probably 
watched  with  amusement  our  struggles  up 
the  steep  sides  ot  the  kopje.  When  we 
asked  for  admittance  to  the  kraal  one  of  the 
natives  pushed  aside  a  heavy  door  swinging 
between  two  rocks,  and  invited  us  to  enter. 
The  door  was  made  of  wood,  black  with 
age,  and  was  evidently  half  of  the  trunk  of  an 
enormous  tree,  of  a  species  no  longer  exist- 
ing in  the  country.  In  order  to  follow  our 
guide  we  had  to  bend  nearly  double,  the 
entrance  was  so  low ;  and  in  this  undignified 
position  we  made  our  entry  to  the  village. 

This  consisted  of  a  group  of  wretched 
huts,  badly  built  and  thatched.  In  the 
midst  of  these  were  several  circular  earth- 
works— not  unlike  colossal  acorn-cups.  These 
were  thatched  more  carefully.     We  were  told 


that  they  were  the  granaries  of  the  com- 
munity. The  plateau  on  which  the  huts 
were  built  was  kept  fairly  clean.  Pigeons 
fluttered  among  the  dwellings.  Imp -like 
children  darted  in  and  out  of  the  rocks. 

The  view  from  this  spot  was  splendid. 
Unrolled  at  our  feet,  like  a  huge  map,  the 
plain  stretched  away  for  leagues,  mingling 
at  length  with  the  distant  hills  that  fringed 
the  horizon.  We  should  have  liked  to 
admire  it  for  many  moments,  but  the  head- 
man, or  induna,  now  appeared,  and  requested 
us  to  go  to  the  "council  hut."  So,  creeping 
through  a  low  door,  we  seated  ourselves  on 
clean  mats  which  had  been  spread  out  for  us. 
Our  natives  squatted  outside. 

After  we  had  waited  for  some  time,  a 
loud  clapping  of  hands  was  heard,  and 
Chiconga  made  her  appearance,  followed 
by  fifty  or  sixty  men.  She  entered  the 
hut,  and  squatted  on  a  mat  opposite  to  us. 
As  soon  as  she  was  seated,  she  began  to 
sway  backwards  and  forwards,  and  clap 
her  hands.     This   is   a   greeting  expressive 


of  welcome  and  respect.  We  wondered 
whether  we  too  ought  to  clap,  and  I  put 
the  question  in  Portuguese  to  our  boy.  He 
answered,  "  No,"  and  entered  the  hut,  and 
after  clapping  and  bobbing  for  a  long  time, 
stood  up  and  made  a  speech.  He  in- 
formed Chiconga  that  we  were  great  chief- 
tainesses  and  witch  -  women.  The  white 
man  came  to  us  sick,  and  we  healed  him. 
The  country  belonged  to  us ;  the  white  men 
were  our  servants.  We  spoke,  and  they 
made  thunder  and  lightning !  Whenever  he 
paused,  the  "  warriors,"  who  crouched  behind 
Chiconga — and  who,  by  the  way,  could  not 
have  said  Boh  !  to  a  goose — clapped  loudly. 

Chiconga  then  declared  that  we  were 
welcome.  She  was  small,  slight,  very  ugly, 
and  not  unlike  an  ill-nourished  monkey.  A 
piece  of  very  dirty  blue  limbo  was  wound  round 
her.  We  thought  her  very  much  less  queen- 
like than  the  Maquaniqua  who  had  come  to 
see  us  at  Sabi  Ophir.  But  she  was  a  gentle 
savage,  not  without  mother-wit.  The  Bishop 
relates  in  his  Journal,  that,  having  paid  her 


a  visit,  he  asked  if  she  would  like  to  learn 
his  religion.  After  a  moment's  silence,  she 
answered :  "If  you  do  not  proceed  on  your 
way,  it  will  be  dark  before  you  reach  the 
next  village."  Truly  a  woman,  savage  or 
civilized,  is  rarely  at  a  loss  for  an  answer ! 

Our  boys  now  unpacked  the  trading  stuff, 
and,  first  offering  the  chieftainess  a  present 
of  a  gaily-striped  blanket,  we  proceeded  to 
trade  for  a  cow,  fowls,  mealies,  and  other 
things  we  wanted.  Each  family  had  some- 
thing to  sell,  pumpkins,  white  beans,  or 

They  were  very  particular  about  the 
colour  and  size  of  the  beads  they  accepted. 
Fashion  is  as  autocratic  in  a  native  kraal 
as  in  the  big  village  by  the  Thames.  Blue 
and  white  beads  had  been  the  rage  six 
months  before ;  now  no  one  could  possibly 
wear  anything  but  red  ones.  They  were 
very  particular  too  about  the  limbo  they 
liked.  Far  from  delighting  in  gaudy  and 
grotesque  patterns,  they  only  approved  of 
plain  colours — dark  blue  or  crimson.     They 


preferred  white  to  anything.  Chiconga  took 
£2  and  four  blankets  for  a  very  pretty  cow. 
She  presented  us  with  a  pair  of  pigeons 
in  return  for  the  blanket  we  had  offered 
on  arriving. 

It  amused  us  to  see  the  respect  with 
which  her  followers  treated  her.  When- 
ever she  spoke,  they  clapped.  Once  she 
went  to  the  door,  and  spat  outside ;  they 
all  clapped  solemnly !  Meanwhile  no  other 
woman  dared  approach  the  "  council  hut." 

They  seemed  a  simple,  harmless  people ; 
yet  bursts  of  ferocity  were  not  uncommon 
among  them. 

A  blind  man,  who  used  to  wander  about 
Manica,  playing  on  a  native  piano,  from 
which  he  extracted  sounds  not  unlike  those 
produced  by  a  Jew's  harp,  was  an  example 
of  this.  He  was  an  unusually  good-looking 
man,  in  spite  of  his  sightless  eyes,  and  had 
married  some  relation  of  the  chief  M'Tassa. 
He  had  several  wives,  but  the  savour  of 
forbidden  fruit  is  relished  in  Manica  as  well 
as  in  Paris,  and  in  an  evil  hour  for  him  it 


was  discovered  that  he  had  been  paying  court 
to  a  neighbour's  wife.  Consulting  together, 
his  "lawful  wives"  seized  him  one  night; 
tied  him  to  a  tree ;  and,  whilst  one  held  a 
torch,  another  tore  his  eyes  out  with  a 
cow  horn.  The  next  day  they  drove 
him  from  the  kraal,  and  since  then  he  had 
wandered  from  place  to  place — a  homeless 

Since  our  return  home,  many  people 
have  asked  us  whether  kissing  is  a  natural 
expression  of  affection,  or  a  product  of 
civilisation.  Decidedly  the  latter ;  and  I 
have  never  seen  any  native  show  signs  of 
strong  affection  for  either  mothers  or 
children.  The  latter  are  very  quick  and 
intelligent,  capable  of  learning  almost  any- 
thing that  it  may  occur  to  one  to 
teach.  But,  as  they  grow  up,  they  seem  to 
become  dull.  The  savage's  intelligence, 
unlike  that  of  a  white  man,  ceases  to  develope 
at  a  very  early  age.  In  working  with 
natives  it  is  necessary  to  be  very  careful 
never  to    alter  the    routine  they  have  been 

248  ADVENTURES  chap. 

taught.  If  a  boy  has  been  accustomed  to 
wash  cups  before  plates,  and  you  reverse 
the  order,  he  will  spend  the  day  in  a  state 
of  bewilderment.  We  took  a  great  deal  of 
trouble  to  find  out  what  notions  of  religion 
the  Mashonas  possessed.  It  was,  however, 
impossible  to  discover  that  they  believed  in 
anything.  Asked  if  they  believed  in  a  life 
after  death,  they  usually  shrieked  with 
laughter  at  such  an  idea.  "An  ox  dies, 
you  buy  another.  A  man  dies,  you  cannot 
replace  him.  That  is  the  only  difference." 
We  could  never  get  a  more  satisfactory 
answer,  and  Mr.  Selous  told  us  that  he  had 
had  the  same  experience.  We  heard,  how- 
ever, that  at  one  or  two  kraals  the  natives 
were  beginning  to  believe  that  their  chiefs 
had  spirits,  which,  after  death,  animated 
lions  or  serpents,  and  often  haunted  the 

Unlike  the  Matabele  or  the  Zulu,  the 
Mashonas  did  not  appear  to  form  one  tribe. 
The  different  groups  of  kraals  seemed  to 
have  little  to  do  with  each  other.      Indeed 


two  natives,  living  but  a  few  miles  from  each 
other,  often  spoke  quite  a  different  dialect. 
For  instance,  one  would  call  a  door  "lima," 
— another  "  rufa."  Some  made  continual 
clicking  sounds,  from  others  you  never  heard 
a  click  at  all.  Though  nominally  king  of 
Manica,  M'Tassa  had  little  authority  outside 
his  own  kraal,  and  even  within  its  limits  it 
was  often  disputed. 

Some  authorities  are  of  opinion  that  the 
Mashonas  were  the  descendants  of  Egyptian 
slaves,  brought  to  Manica  in  gangs  to  work 
the  gold.  The  whole  country  is  riddled 
with  old  workings.  Some  of  the  mountains 
are  honey-combed  with  drives  and  tunnels. 
The  fact  that  the  natives  dance  to  the  new 
moon,  without  appearing  to  know  why,  is 
said  to  be  a  trace  of  the  worship  of  I  sis. 
That  a  childless  widow  marries  her  brother- 
in-law,  and  that  any  children  she  may  have 
rank  as  those  of  her  dead  husband,  is  con- 
sidered to  be  a  trace  of  the  law  of  Moses. 

One  and  all  inoculate  for  small-pox,  making 
three  punctures  above  the  elbow.     Questioned 


as  to  the  origin  of  this  practice,  they  told  us 
that,  "  more  moons  ago  than  there  were  men 
on  earth,"  a  "great  chief"  had  taught  them 
to  do  it.  These  native  kraals  are  said  to  be 
the  original  homes  of  small-pox,  and  are 
rarely  free  from  it.  As  a  rule  the  disease 
takes  a  mild  form,  but  when  we  were  in 
Manica,  many  hundreds  were  said  to  have 
died  from  it.  Certainly  inoculation  had 
failed  to  check  the  spread  of  the  malady. 
Yet  the  various  doctors,  who  examined  the 
boys'  arms,  appeared  to  think  the  operation 
had  been  well,  and  even  very  neatly,  per- 

In  general  the  Mashona  is  undersized 
and  thin.  Many  of  them,  however,  though 
small,  were  beautifully  made.  They  were 
all  muscle,  hard  as  steel,  with  small  bones 
and  skins  of  exceeding  fineness  and  beauty. 
Many  a  lady  might  envy  the  smallness  of 
their  hands,  the  slenderness  of  their  wrists 
and  ankles.  Now  and  then  one  came  across 
a  native  so  purely  Egyptian  in  type,  so 
melancholy    and    impassive,    that    he    might 


have  been  a  Pharaoh  working  out  his  Karma 
— a  slave  among  slaves. 

Natives  spend  an  immense  time  adorn- 
ing themselves.  Many  of  them  plait  their 
wool  into  hundreds  of  little  tails,  which  stick 
up  all  over  their  heads.  Beads,  buttons,  and 
bits  of  brass  wire  are  often  woven  into  these 
tails.  Some  weave  their  hair  into  a  sort  of 
bird's  nest ;  others  into  a  castellated  structure, 
which  must  take  years  to  perfect.  They 
adorn  themselves  with  bead  necklaces  and 
tiger-cat  skins.  They  are  not  keen  hunters, 
being  too  timid  to  chase  either  lions  or 

Their  pottery  consists  only  of  large  round 
earthenware  pots,  coarsely  made,  which 
serve  to  keep  water  cold  on  the  hottest  day. 
The  natives  also  cook  in  them.  Their  iron 
work  for  assegai  blades  or  arrow-heads  is 
very  poor  indeed.  The  arrow-heads  in 
especial  are  remarkably  rude,  and  far  inferior 
to  those  made  in  other  parts  of  Africa.  But 
they  carve  beautiful  little  snuff-boxes,  and 
curious  wooden    head -rests   to    sleep    upon. 


The  brass  work  too  on  some  of  their  knives 
was  very  well  done.  They  still  use  the  fire- 
sticks  for  producing  fire,  though  such  kraals 
as  are  in  touch  with  the  white  men  have 
learnt  to  appreciate  Bryant  and  May.  They 
live  principally  on  "  Kaffir  corn,"  as  it  is 
called.  This  grain  grows  on  stalks,  not 
unlike  mealie-stalks,  which  reach  the  height 
of  ten  or  eleven  feet.  It  is  dark,  like  linseed, 
when  cooked,  and  has  a  heavy,  sweetish  taste. 
We  used  it  with  great  success  for  poultices. 

The  natives  also  grow  rice,  tobacco,  sweet 
potatoes,  sugar-cane  in  small  quantities,  and 
pumpkins.  Out  of  gourds  they  make  curious 
drinking  vessels.  Whilst  the  gourd  is  still 
growing  they  tie  thongs  of  bark  tightly  round 
it  in  different  places,  thus  forcing  the  fruit  to 
grow  in  strange,  quaint  shapes.  The  most 
usual  arrangement  is  that  of  a  long  straight 
handle,  with  a  cup-like  bowl  at  one  end. 
When  the  fruit  is  ripe  the  natives  carefully 
scoop  out  the  interior,  and  dry  the  rind  in 
the  sun.  These  "calabashes"  are  very 
useful.     The  native  stands  on  a  rock,  or  on 


a  bank,  and  by  means  of  his  long-handled 
"  calabash  "  scoops  up  the  river  water  without 
wetting  himself.  Except  when  engaged  in 
swimming  and  diving,  the  Mashona  has  a 
horror  of  getting  wet.  His  dread  of  rain  is 
strange,  considering  that  he  has  no  clothes 
to  spoil. 

Though  these  natives  live  chiefly  on 
vegetable  diet,  they  are  very  fond  of  meat. 
If  a  cow  dies  anywhere  on  the  veldt,  they 
troop  to  it,  disputing  its  carcase  with  the 
vultures.  A  number  of  natives  will  encamp 
round  the  spoil,  and  not  move  till  the  last 
bone  has  been  picked  clean.  Decomposition 
has  no  terror  for  them.  They  enjoy  a  smell 
which  sickens  the  very  jackals. 

With  all  their  faults,  we  could  not  help 
getting  fond  of  our  boys ;  they  were  invari- 
ably cheerful,  and  they  moved  so  noiselessly. 
We  always  found  the  raw  native  to  be  strictly 

The  day  after  we  had  visited  Chiconga's 
kraal,  she  sent  us  a  messenger  bearing  an 
assegai     entirely     made     of    iron.       These 

spears  being  only  used  by  chiefs,  it  is  con- 
sidered an  honour  to  receive  one.  Chiconga 
was  not  for  behind  her  messenger.  She 
arrived  with  an  escort  of  sixty  or  seventy 
people — old  and  young  men,  and  boys  of  all 
ages,    One  of  these  last  carried  her  baby. 

Being  made  welcome,  and  requested  to 
enter  our  hut,  the  w Queen**  seated  herself 
on  a  box,  while  her  husbands  sat  on  the 
ground  beside  her.  We  ottered  her  a 
present  of  limbo  and  beads,  then,  sending  for 
coffee,  handed  her  a  cup.  This  she  did  not 
like  the  look  of.  Therefore,  in  spite  of  his 
reluctance,  one  of  her  husbands  had  to  taste 
it  first  He  disapproved  emphatically,  spit- 
ting it  out  behind  the  box  on  which  his  wife 
was  seated.  Chiconga  then  declined  the 
coffee,  suggesting  that  she  understood,  and 
liked,  whisky  better.     We  told  her  that  "  fire- 

v  r  was  the  drink  of  men,  not  of  women, 
but  we  could  not  make  her  see  the  force  of 
the  argument  If  white  men  liked  it  and 
drank  it,  why  should  not  white  women  do 
so  ?    What  was  good  for  men.  was  good  for 


women  too,  at  least  for  chieftainesses !  This 
Woman's  Rights  argument  finding  voice  in  a 
country  where  women  are  mere  beasts  of 
burden,  amused  us  greatly.  We  compro- 
mised the  question.  We  had  received  a 
present  of  port  wine,  and  now  offered  her 
some.  This  beverage  met  with  her  ap- 
proval But,  finding  her  prepared  to  drink 
mugsfull  of  it  there  and  then,  we  were  forced 
to  violate  the  laws  of  hospitality,  and  have 
the  bottle  carried  away. 

A  tin  of  lump  sugar  had  been  sent  to  us  a 
few  days  before.  This  sugar  delighted 
Chiconga,  who  ate  quantities  of  it,  and 
begged  for  some  to  take  away — a  request 
which  we  of  course  acceded  to.  Every  now 
and  then  the  baby,  which  had  remained 
outside  with  all  the  other  followers,  set  up  a 
shrill  cry — then  its  mother  would  run  out  and 
feed  it.  Remembering  that  in  lying-in- 
hospitals  there  is  a  stringent  rule  that  babies 
must  be  fed  regularly,  at  stated  intervals,  I 
was  interested  to  note  that  the  savage  infant 
is  allowed  to  suck  as  often  as  it  likes,  and 

256      ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND  chap,  ix 

thrives  exceedingly  on  these  irregular 
repasts.  A  white  baby,  fenced  in  by  rules 
and  regulations,  smothered  in  a  bundle  of 
senseless  clothes,  is  an  unhappy  little  atom 
compared  to  his  black  brother. 

Before  long  we  began  to  wonder  when 
Chiconga  meant  to  go.  There  seemed  no 
near  prospect  of  getting  rid  of  her.  At 
length  a  happy  thought  occurred  to  us.  We 
had  got  a  small  block  of  incense,  such  as  the 
Malays  use  during  their  ceremonies.  We 
told  Jonosso  to  light  some,  and  fumigate  the 
hut.  When  he  had  done  so,  he  gravely 
informed  Chiconga  that  farewells  ought  to 
follow  incense  burning.  Upon  which  she 
arose,  offered  us  her  hand  a  rAnglaise,  and 
departed  with  all  her  train. 


A  tale  of  horror — "  Smelling  out  witches  " — Maronka — His 
prisoner — An  expedition  to  rescue  him — The  encamp- 
ment— Lions — Native  carried  off — Half  devoured — 
Horses  attacked — Night  of  terror — A  plucky  terrier — 
The  dead  lioness — Maronka  submits — Mr.  Carden — 
Home  again — Another  lion  story — Vogler — Besieged 
by  lions — A  terrible  situation — No  water — Rescued — 
Too  late  —  Vogler's  death  —  More  lions  —  Siege  of 
Umtali — Warlike  funeral — Night  alarm — A  reign  of 
terror — Township  attacked — Tracked  to  his  lair — 
The  dead  monarch — Lying  in  state — At  peace  once 

Two  or  three  people — amongst  them  Mr. 
Bent — having  spent  three  months  in  Ma- 
shonaland,  assert  that  lions  do  not  exist 
there.  Such  is  not  our  experience,  as  the 
following  pages  will  show. 

One  morning  a  native  entered  the  camp, 
bringing  a  tale  of  horror  to  the  Magistrate's  ear. 
A  chief  called  Maronka,  whose  kraal  was  about 

258  ADVENTURES  chap. 

forty  miles  distant,  had  seized  his  family  and 
boiled  them  alive.  He  and  his  brother  had 
escaped,  but  the  latter  had  been  recaptured, 
and  he  himself  pursued  as  he  fled  to  Umtali 
to  ask  the  protection  of  the  White  Chief. 

Maronka  and  his  people  had  emerged 
from  the  state  of  belief  in  nothing,  and  were 
passing  through  the  barbarous  superstitious 
stage.  They  believed  that,  after  death,  the 
souls  of  their  chiefs  passed  into  the  bodies  of 
lions,  though  still  holding  that  the  generality 
of  the  tribe  were  soulless.  They  had  power- 
ful witch-doctors,  and  ''smelt-out"  witches, 
much  in  the  manner  described  in  Rider 
Haggard's  novels. 

The  family  of  the  native  who  had  escaped 
to  our  camp  had  been  "  smelt  out,"  and,  if 
his  brother  were  not  rescued,  he  would  be 
condemned  to  some  horrible  death. 

The  Magistrate  immediately  sent  out 
police  to  demand  the  release  of  the  prisoner. 
Receiving  no  satisfactory  answer,  he  set  out 
with  his  men  to  force  the  chief  to  yield. 

The  first  night's  camp  was  undisturbed  ; 


and,  next  day,  the  white  men  reached  the 
foot  of  the  kopje  on  the  top  of  which 
Maronka's  kraal  was  perched.  The  night 
was  moonless,  the  darkness  intense.  Having 
collected  a  quantity  of  wood,  two  circles  of  fires 
were  lit.  In  the  outer  circle  were  the  natives 
and  some  of  the  white  men ;  in  the  inner 
circle  the  rest  of  the  police  and  the  horses. 

Towards  one  o'clock  in  the  morning  the 
Magistrate  went  round  to  see  that  the  fires 
were  being  kept  up,  and  the  watchmen  at 
their  posts.  Before  turning  in  he  paused  to 
replenish  a  fire  in  the  outer  circle,  near  which 
he  himself  was  sleeping.  The  flames  leapt 
up,  shedding  a  ruddy  glare  which  empha- 
sised the  surrounding  darkness.  One  or  two 
natives  were  sleeping  by  the  fire.  As  the 
Magistrate  turned  away,  a  monstrous  dark 
shape  bounded  over  the  flames,  seized  a 
native,  and  vanished  with  him  as  noiselessly 
as  it  had  appeared. 

The  alarm  was  given,  and  in  an  instant 
the  encampment  was  on  foot.  The  native 
who  had  been  carried  away  did  not  lose  con- 

26o  ADVENTURES  chap. 

sciousness  or  presence  of  mind.  "  This 
way,"  he  kept  shouting.  "  Mai  we !  oh, 
maiwe  ! " — the  native  cry  of  anguish  or  of 
terror.  "  The  lion,  the  lion !  he  is  eating 
my  shoulder.  Oh,  my  head !  This  way — 
this  way  !     Quickly,  white  man  !  " 

Several  shots  were  fired  in  the  direction 
of  the  cries  ;  and  then,  seizing  flaming  logs,  a 
number  of  men  rushed  out  into  the  darkness 
and  long  grass,  firing  as  they  went.  Sud- 
denly the  light  of  the  torch  revealed  a 
horrible  sight.  A  large  lioness  was  lying  on 
the  unfortunate  native,  crunching  up  his 
shoulder.  Again  they  fired,  and,  with  a 
sullen  roar,  the  great  beast  sprang  into  the 
grass  and  disappeared.  Hurriedly  they  bore 
her  victim  back  to  the  fires.  Three  minutes 
had  scarcely  elapsed  since  the  lioness  had 
leaped  the  fire  in  search  of  prey,  but  the 
poor  native  was  in  a  pitiable  condition. 
The  whole  of  one  shoulder  and  arm  was  a 
mass  of  shapeless,  bloody  pulp,  and  his  scalp 
was  torn  from  his  head.  He  lived  till 
morning,  not    appearing    to    suffer    greatly, 


but,  as  the  first  rays  of  sunlight  fell  on  his 
face,  he  uttered  a  cry  and  expired. 

Meanwhile  a  shout  from  the  natives,  who 
had  swarmed  up  trees,  drew  attention  to  the 
horses.  A  lion  bounded  in  amongst  them, 
undeterred  by  noise  or  fires.  The  horses 
broke  loose,  and  stampeded.  Growls,  snarls, 
a  cry  in  the  darkness,  the  sound  of  galloping 
horses,  the  ravings  of  the  dying  native,  filled 
the  remaining  hours  of  the  night  with  terror. 
It  was  indeed  a  relief  to  all  when  the  sudden 
tropical  day  dawned  at  last.  Action  was 
now  possible.  Anything  was  better  than 
sitting  there  in  the  darkness,  waiting  for 
what  might  happen. 

The  first  thing  to  do  was  to  track  and  slay 
the  lioness,  and  recover  the  horses — or  such 
among  them  as  were  still  alive.  A  plucky 
terrier  called  "  Syndicate,"  who  afterwards 
became  our  dog,  set  the  party  on  the  track  of 
the  lioness,  actually  putting  her  up  like  a 
partridge.  He  would  have  fallen  a  victim  to 
his  temerity,  had  not  a  timely  shot  disposed 
of  the  great  cat.      She  had  been  severely 

262  ADVENTURES  chap. 

wounded  the  night  before,  which  accounted 
for  her  remaining  so  close  to  the  encamp- 
ment. When  the  carcase  was  opened,  it  was 
found  that  she  must  have  been  many  days 
without  food.  Much  to  their  surprise  and 
satisfaction,  the  police  recovered  all  the 
horses.  One  or  two  were  badly  mauled, 
nearly  all  were  scratched,  but  none  of  them 
died.  It  was  conjectured  that  the  other  lions 
were  large  cubs.  Had  they  been  full  grown, 
the  horses  would  not  have  got  off  so  easily. 

A  messenger  was  now  sent  up  to  Maronka, 
informing  him  that  if  the  prisoner  were  not 
delivered  up  within  a  certain  time,  the  white 
men  would  seize  his  kraal  and  drive  him 
out.  After  a  very  short  palaver,  Maronka 
yielded,  sending  back  the  prisoner,  also  a 
present  of  goats  and  fowls,  to  propitiate  the 
wrath  of  the  whites. 

The  chief  and  his  people  believed  that  the 
lions  which  had  attacked  the  encampment 
were  animated  by  the  souls  of  former  chiefs 
seeking  to  defend  the  kraal.  Since  the  whites 
had  overcome  the  great  Spirits,  the  resistance 


of  mere  mortals  would  be  absurd.  Maronka 
never  gave  any  further  trouble.  One  of  the 
officers  of  the  police,  Mr.  Carden,  who  is  said 
to  have  shown  unusual  pluck  during  this 
night  of  horror,  wrote  a  capital  description  of 
this  episode  to  his  people.  It  appeared  in 
the  Field,  and  excited  much  interest. 

News  travels  with  incredible  swiftness  in 
Africa,  losing  nothing  on  the  way.  Long 
before  the  police  returned,  we  heard  vague 
and  alarming  accounts  of  lions,  of  men  torn 
to  pieces,  and  of  horses  killed.  It  may  be 
imagined,  therefore,  how  glad  we  were  to  see 
the  expedition  return  safe  and  sound.  More 
especially  were  we  glad  to  welcome  back  Mr. 
Carden,  who  was  one  of  our  best  friends. 
His  hut,  in  the  officers'  quarters  of  the  camp, 
was  near  our  compound,  and  whenever  we 
were  in  any  difficulty — which  was  often — 
"Send  for  Mr.  Carden,"  was  the  cry!  Such 
a  nice  boy!  full  of  fun,  and  steady  as  old  Time. 
The  type  of  a  young  English  gentleman, 
whose  people  for  generations  had  "feared 
God  and  honoured  the  king."     He  it  was  who 


told  us  another  lion  tale, — almost  more  terrible 
than  the  Maronka  affair. 

A  prospector  named  Vogler,  camped  some- 
where between  Beira  and  Umtali,  was  search- 
ing for  a  reef  supposed  to  be  lying  in  that 
direction.  One  day  some  natives  came  to 
his  camp,  telling  him  that  two  white  men 
were  " besieged  by  lions"  a  hundred  miles 
away,  and  that  both  were  dead  or  dying. 
Vogler  wasted  no  time,  he  knew  that  white 
men  were  encamped  at  the  place  indicated 
by  the  natives,  and  found  that  the  latter, 
questioned  individually,  told  a  consistent  tale. 
Taking  with  him  a  guide  and  a  few  boys  to 
carry  provisions,  he  walked  the  hundred  miles 
in  less  than  two  days  and  a  half. 

In  front  of  the  solitary  hut,  built  at  some 
distance  from  water,  lay  the  bones  of  a  lion  ; 
several  more  had  their  lair  in  the  bushes 
close  by,  according  to  the  natives.  With 
some  difficulty  Vogler  obtained  admission  to 
the  hut.  There  he  found  two  white  men  in 
an  indescribable  condition.  One  man  was 
lying   on    a   rude    stretcher    apparently   un- 


conscious ;  the  other  was  up  and  about,  but 
looked  a  ghastly  object.  An  intolerable  smell 
poisoned  the  atmosphere.  Having  attended 
to  the  first  wants  of  these  two  miserable  men, 
Vogler  asked  what  had  happened.  The  man 
who  was  still  conscious  told  him. 

His  comrade,  he  said,  had  caught  the  fever, 
was  very  ill,  and  too  weak  to  move.  The 
natives  had  deserted,  as  they  so  often  do  in 
face  of  sickness.  One  night,  hearing  a  noise 
round  the  hut,  he  thought  the  boys  might 
have  returned — perhaps  with  evil  intentions. 
Taking  his  rifle,  he  threw  open  the  door.  It 
was  a  bright  moonlight  night.  Straight  in 
front  of  him,  at  a  distance  of  about  twenty 
paces,  stood  a  large  lion  ;  he  fired,  and  killed 
it.  As  he  lowered  his  gun,  the  lioness,  which 
he  had  not  perceived,  stole  noiselessly  round 
the  hut,  seized  his  right  hand,  and  literally 
tore  it  off.  The  man  had  presence  of  mind 
enough  to  dart  back  into  the  hut,  and  bang 
the  door.  It  was  a  frail  protection,  being 
made  of  reeds ;  but  in  spite  of  the  terrible 
wound  he  found  strength  enough  to  pile  sacks 

266  ADVENTURES  chap. 

of  rice  against  it.  His  right  arm  was  a  ghastly- 
stump,  the  broken  bones  sticking  out  through 
the  bleeding  flesh  below  the  elbow.  His 
hand  was  gone.  Fearing  that  he  would  bleed 
to  death,  he  melted  a  quantity  of  brown  sugar 
and  plunged  the  stump  into  it.  It  was,  when 
Vogler  saw  it,  still  coated  over  with  a  hard 
mass  of  sugar. 

He  now  no  longer  dared  to  leave  the  hut. 
He  and  his  friend  had  provisions,  but  no 
water.  Part  of  their  store  was  composed  of 
tins  of  salmon  and  sardines.  They  bored 
holes  in  the  tins,  and  drank  the  oil,  and  the 
horrible  fish  liquid.  In  this  manner  they  had 
lived  for  seven  days !  The  man  with  fever 
had  got  gradually  worse,  and  appeared  likely 
to  die,  but  he  eventually  recovered.  U nfortun- 
ately,  it  was  impossible  to  save  the  wounded 
man.  The  arm  was  gangrened  and  he  died 
soon  after  Vogler's  arrival.  The  latter  himself 
told  the  story  to  Mr.  Carden. 

Not  long  after,  Vogler  also  went  "  beyond 
the  sunset."  He  ordered  himself  to  be 
carried    to    the    hospital,    but    died    in    his 


"  machila "  before  reaching  it.  His  death 
took  place  in  one  of  the  loveliest  spots  near 
Umtali.  There  the  road  dips  into  a  "donga." 
On  the  one  side  the  sunlit  veldt  spreads 
away  ;  on  the  other  a  dense  thicket  casts  a 
grateful  shade  over  the  road.  At  the  time 
of  year  of  which  I  am  writing  this  thicket  was 
ablaze  with  brilliant  flowers — the  blossoms 
of  a  sort  of  azalea.  Every  shade  of  red  was 
here  represented,  from  the  palest  faded  rose 
to  the  most  intense  scarlet.  Bright-coloured 
birds  flitted  through  the  branches.  Butter- 
flies, with  wings  of  metallic  lustre,  floated 
over  the  flowers.  A  perpetual  hum  of  in- 
sects suggested  drowsy  summer  idleness ; 
strange  enervating  perfumes  steeped  the 
senses  in  languor.  It  was  surely  a  dreamy 
poetical  place  from  whence  to  drift  into  the 
unknown.  I  am  told,  however,  that  this  is 
quite  a  mistaken  sentiment ;  that  to  die  in  a 
bed,  in  a  shaded  room,  with  hospital  walls 
around  you,  instead  of  banks  of  flowers,  is  a 
more  suitable  ending — "more  satisfactory  to 
one's  friends."     It  may  be  so.      For  my  part 


I  envied  Vogler's  mode  of  passing  away. 
"It  is  better  to  hear  the  lark  sing  than 
the  mouse  chepe,"  says  the  north-country  pro- 
verb. I  am  sure  it  is  full  of  wisdom,  even 
though  the  listener's  ears  be  dying  ones. 

The  roar  of  a  lion,  once  the  most  familiar 
of  nightly  sounds,  had,  so  far,  never  been 
heard  in  New  Umtali.  A  visit  from  the 
king  of  beasts  was  the  last  thing  any  one 
expected  ;  it  was,  therefore,  sure  to  be  paid 
before  long. 

One  day  two  men  drove  from  Salisbury 
to  Umtali,  borrowing,  for  the  purpose,  Dr. 
Jameson's  mule  cart.  One  of  these  gentle- 
men was  a  Mr.  Robert  Williams,  well  known 
in  Africa  as  a  successful  speculator  and  a 
right  good  fellow.  He  was  no  novice  in 
African  travel,  and  scarcely  was  his  cart  out- 
spanned,  than  he  asked  if  it  was  safe  to  leave 
the  mules  on  the  veldt  for  the  night.  Yes, 
was  the  universal  answer.  Between  camp  and 
township,  oxen  and  donkeys  roamed  about  all 
night ;  none  of  them  had  ever  been  lost. 

Captain  Heyman,  of  Masse-Kesse  fame, 


had  returned  to  Umtali  as  Resident  Magis- 
trate and  Civil  Commissioner.  The  officials 
had  hitherto  succeeded  each  other  like  pictures 
in  a  magic -lantern,  but  Captain  Heyman 
bade  fair  to  be  an  exception  to  the  rule. 
He  had  invited  Mr.  Williams  to  be  his  guest. 

That  night  we  were  up  nearly  all  night 
with  a  bad  case.  Dr.  Johnston  had  been  re- 
called home ;  his  substitute  had  not  arrived ; 
it  was  a  time  of  anxiety  of  which  I  propose 
to  speak  in  another  chapter.  One  of  us 
crossing  over  to  the  hospital  on  the  night  in 
question,  was  startled  by  a  terrible  yell, — a 
prolonged  agonising  shriek.  It  reminded 
one  of  the  legends  of  the  Banshee. 

As  soon  as  the  camp  was  astir,  we  sent 
to  ask  Mr.  Carden  if  he  had  heard  the 
noise,  and  knew  what  it  was.  His  answer 
was  a  startling  one.  Lions  had  invaded 
the  hitherto  peaceful  camp ;  a  mule,  a 
donkey,  and  an  ox  had  been  killed  within 
a  few  yards  of  the  hospital.  Two  more 
mules  were  killed  in  the  bush  close  to 
the  Police    Camp.      It  was   the  shriek  of  a 


mule,  which  the  lion  had  disembowelled,  that 
we  had  heard.  The  other  creatures  had  had 
their  necks  broken,  and  died  instantaneously. 
A  lion  springs  on  an  ox,  passes  a  paw  under 
his  jaw,  gives  his  head  a  twist,  and  his  neck 
is  broken.  The  whole  operation  takes  place 
with  such  rapidity  that  the  ox  cannot  attempt 
to  save  'itself,  and,  after  the  first  moment  of 
terror,  probably  suffers  nothing. 

We  heard  no  more  of  the  lions  for  that 
day,  but,  after  all  the  wild  tales  that  floated 
about,  it  was  impossible  to  cross  the  com- 
pound after  dark  without  a  thrill  of  terror. 
Our  watch  that  night  was  a  dismal  one. 
Seated  beside  the  dying  man  whose  life  was 
ebbing  slowly  away,  we  listened  nervously  to 
every  sound,  momentarily  expecting  some 
terrible  catastrophe.  Nothing  happened, 
and  at  last  morning  dawned,  and  the  terrors 
of  the  night  seemed  to  vanish  with  the  dark- 
ness. Our  boys,  however,  informed  us  that 
the  mules  had  again  been  attacked  in  the 
shelter  in  which  they  had  been  tied  up,  and 
had  stampeded.     One  had  fled  away  towards 


Salisbury,  the  other  had  been  killed  far  from 
the  camp.  The  lions,  then,  were  still  at  hand. 
They  were,  indeed,  nearer  than  any  one  sup- 
posed. At  nine  o'clock  we  saw  a  commotion 
in  the  Police  Camp.  The  men  had  seized 
their  rifles,  and  were  all  hurrying  in  one 

It  appeared  that  a  native  who  herded  the 
cattle  suddenly  saw  a  lion  spring  out  of  the 
grass,  and  give  chase  to  the  oxen.  He  very 
nearly  caught  one,  springing  at  it  and  scratch- 
ing it  very  severely.  The  natives'  shouts 
scared  the  brute  and  raised  the  alarm  in 
camp,  the  men  turning  out  at  once.  Many 
shots  were  fired ;  the  pursuit  was  a  hot  one, 
but  unsuccessful,  the  long  grass  making  it 
impossible  to  see  more  than  a  few  feet  ahead. 
However,  the  lions  were  supposed  to  have 
been  driven  off.  Not  a  bit  of  it !  That 
very  afternoon  they  returned  about  four 
o'clock,  and,  in  broad  daylight,  coolly  chased 
the  police  horses  across  the  commonage  be- 
tween the  township  and  the  camp.  One  of 
the  horses  had  a  very  narrow  escape. 

272  ADVENTURES  chap. 

That  morning  our  patient  died.  His 
funeral,  which  took  place  the  same  after- 
noon, was  a  strange  spectacle,  most  of 
the  men  being  armed  with  rifles.  The 
procession  looked  more  like  a  war  -  like 
expedition  than  a  funeral. 

By  this  time  our  huts  were  furnished 
with  solid  doors,  but  the  large  window  in 
our  sleeping  hut  was  simply  a  hole  in 
the  wall.  We  barricaded  this  with  a  big 
umbrella,  hoping  that  the  lion  would  object 
to  its  size  and  spikes.  Mr.  Carden  brought 
us  a  revolver,  and  Captain  Hey  man  had 
a  lantern  hung  outside  in  a  tree.  A  lion 
is  said  to  object  to  a  lantern,  and  perhaps 
he  does.  In  any  case,  he  did  not  try  to 
enter  our  hut.  Every  one,  however,  was  not 
so  lucky. 

Towards  one  in  the  morning  we  were 
roused  by  the  most  frightful  yells  that 
ever  mortal  lungs  gave  utterance  to.  We 
distinguished  clearly  the  "Maiwe!"  of  the 
natives.  A  number  of  shots  were  fired 
in    rapid    succession,    then    all    was   silent. 


In  about  half  an  hour  the  cries  were 
repeated  ;  more  shots  were  fired  ;  then 
came  unbroken  silence  till  morning.  As 
soon  as  it  was  light  we  went  to  our  boys' 
hut  to  find  out  what  had  happened,  fully 
expecting  to  hear  that  some  one  had  been 
carried  off.  It  was  a  great  relief  to  hear 
that  no  one  had  been  injured.  Captain 
Hey  man's  boys,  however,  who  lived  in  a 
grass  hut  close  to  our  compound,  had  had  a 
narrow  escape. 

Alarmed  by  the  nightly  raids  that  had 
been  made  on  the  cattle,  these  natives 
kept  a  bright  fire  in  their  huts  all  night. 
One  of  them  was  making  it  up,  when  the 
whole  party  was  roused  by  the  well-known 
pig-like  grunt  of  a  hunting  lion.  Whilst 
they  huddled  together,  the  thatch  wall  was 
torn  aside,  and  the  head  of  a  lion  forced 
through  the  opening.  His  jaws  were  open  ; 
the  huge  cavity  showed  red  in  the  firelight, 
which  lit  up  his  gleaming  teeth  and  cruel 
yellow  eyes.  With  one  accord  the  boys 
burst  into  the  wails  and  shrieks  that  had 

274  '  ADVENTURES  chap. 

roused  us  and  the  police  camp,  thereby 
scaring  off  the  lion.  The  night  was  of 
inky  blackness.  Nevertheless  Captain 
Heyman,  Mr.  Williams,  and  Mr.  Carden 
rushed  out  of  their  huts  and  fired  their 
rifles — they  could  not  see  to  aim  at  any- 
thing. Some  one  then  appeared  with  a 
lantern,  and  the  natives  were  convoyed  to 
the  mess  hut,  which  was  provided  with  a 
strong  door.  They  declared  that  half  an 
hour  later  the  lion  returned  and  tried  to 
force  his  way  through  the  door.  At  the 
first  sound  of  the  cries,  the  same  men 
rushed  out  again  and  fired.  The  next 
morning  the  "spoor"  showed  that  the  lion 
must  have  passed  close  to  Captain  Heyman 
as  he  fired.  It  was  a  curious  thing  that 
just  before  the  first  alarm,  Mr.  Williams, 
who  was  sleeping  in  Captain  Hey  mans 
hut,  should  have  declared  that  he  heard 
a  lion  outside.  Captain  Heyman  assured 
him  that  it  was  quite  impossible.  No  lion, 
he  said,  would  venture  into  the  camp  and 
wander  among  the  huts.      If  it  went  any- 


where,  it  would  try  and  get  into  the 
stable.  He  had  hardly  finished  speaking 
when  the  yells  of  his  boys  proved  very 
convincingly  that  no  one  can  calculate  on 
what  a  wild  beast  will  or  will  not  do. 

Every  effort  was  now  made  to  destroy 
the  lions.  The  carcases  of  the  mules  were 
poisoned.  Men  sat  up  in  the  trees  above 
them  all  night,  on  the  chance  of  getting 
a  shot.  Mr.  Carrick,  the  plucky  post- 
master, did  this  night  after  night,  in  all 
weathers,  but  in  vain.  The  darkness  was 
so  dense  that  the  shots  which  he  fired  in 
the  direction  from  whence  the  sounds  of 
crunching  came,  did  not  even  frighten  the 
lion.  He  merely  dragged  his  mule  a  little 
further  off,  and  went  on  with  his  supper. 
Nor  did  the  poison  seem  to  trouble  him. 
The  dispensary  had  none  strong  enough, 
or  in  sufficiently  large  quantities,  to  prove 

For  ten  days  there  was  a  reign  of  terror 
in  Umtali.  The  roads  and  streets  of  the 
township  were  covered  with  lion  spoor.     No 


one  would  venture  out  after  dark.  The 
natives  took  their  assegais  when  they  went 
to  fetch  water ;  most  of  the  white  men  who 
had  to  go  any  distance  took  their  revolvers  or 
rifles.  Hunting  parties  went  out  in  different 
directions  nearly  every  day,  but  were  always 
unsuccessful.  The  lions  on  the  contrary 
killed  something  every  night.  At  last  the 
climax  came. 

One  night  sounds  of  bellowing  and  tramp- 
ling floated  across  to  us  from  the  township. 
Shots  were  fired,  and  evidently  a  great 
commotion  was  going  on.  It  appeared  that 
the  lions  had  forced  their  way  into  a  cattle 
kraal  built  behind  one  of  the  houses.  The 
terrified  cattle  stampeded,  their  assailants 
chasing  them  through  the  streets.  The  noise 
was  tremendous.  Frightened  faces  appeared 
at  windows,  and  rifles  were  discharged,  but 
the  lions  paid  no  attention.  They  killed  two 
oxen — one  in  the  High  Street,  one  near  the 
oven  of  our  friend  the  baker — besides  badly 
mauling  several  others.  This  state  of  things 
could  no  longer  be  borne.     One  of  the  towns- 


folk,  a  good  shot  and  clever  hunter,  took  some 
natives  with  him,  and  followed  up  the  fresh 
"spoor,"  which  led  into  the  bush  behind  the 
township.  After  walking  some  hours,  they 
entered  a  small  open  glade,  and  there  before 
them  stood  lion  and  lioness.  A  shot  killed 
the  former,  his  mate  escaping  into  the  under- 

The  dead  king  was  carried  back  in 
triumph  to  Umtali.  We  all  went  to  see  him. 
He  lay  stretched  out  on  the  grass,  a  group  of 
the  people  he  had  so  long  held  in  awe  stand- 
ing around.  He  was  a  beautiful  beast,  just 
in  his  prime,  measuring  ten  feet  long  from  the 
tip  of  his  nose  to  the  end  of  his  tail.  His 
coat  was  soft  and  bright,  and  of  a  tawny 
colour — not  unlike  that  of  a  mastiff — with 
black  points.  This  colour  is  so  like  that  of 
the  sun-dried  grass,  that  it  can  with  difficulty 
be  distinguished  from  it.  Altogether  we 
thought  him  much  handsomer  than  the 
menagerie  lion,  which  is  apt  to  look  out  of 
proportion — the  head  enormous,  and  the  hind- 
quarters falling  away. 

278       ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND      ch.  x 

After  the  death  of  her  mate,  the  .lioness 
took  her  cubs  away  from  Umtali,  and 
wandered  off  towards  the  coast.  She  met  her 
death  in  a  mountain  defile,  called  Christmas 
Pass — the  very  spot  where  Mr.  Teal  had  been 
devoured  by  a  lion  more  than  a  year  before. 

After  these  days  of  unpleasant  excitement 
Umtali  relapsed  into  its  usual  somewhat 
monotonous  routine,  nor  did  any  such  terrible 
visitants  reappear  during  the  remainder  of 
our  stay  there. 


A  luxury — Mr.  Seymour-Fort — An  eccentric  drive — A 
luncheon  party — China  versus  tin — Ill-behaved  guests 
—  Moonlight — Our  carriage  and  pair  —  "  Pills  and 
Powders" — Their  friendship  with  our  monkey — 
Warned  of  a  snake — An  execution — Dr.  Johnston 
departs — No  doctor — A  patient  from  Masse-Kesse — 
Clark  and  Paget — Amusing  notes — The  doctor  at  last 
— A  cause  celebre — Troublesome  results — What's  in  a 
name? — Gold  finds  —  The  gold  fever — Wonderful 
reefs — The  Queen  of  Sheba's  kingdom. 

Nearly  a  year  after  our  arrival  at  Umtali, 
just  when  climate  and  work  were  beginning 
to  tell  on  us,  we  were  able  to  indulge  in  a 
great  luxury  ;  thanks  to  the  intervention  of 
Mr.  Seymour- Fort.  This  gentleman  had 
renounced  political  life,  and  had  come  up  to 
Mashonaland  with  some  of  the  Directors  of 
the  British  South  Africa  Company.  He  was, 
at  the  time  of  which  I  write,  managing  large 
mining    interests.      We    had    had    the   good 

280  ADVENTURES  chap. 

fortune  to  see  a  great  deal  of  him,  and  he 
ranks  as  the  most  valued  friend  we  made  in 

Mr.  Seymour-Fort  had  made  the  acquaint- 
ance of  a  miner,  who  possessed  a  small  hand- 
cart— a  very  light  vehicle,  in  fact,  a  mere 
box  on  wheels.  He  had  lengthened  the 
dliselboom  and  harnessed  two  donkeys  to  it, 
the  result  being  a  convenient  little  trap. 

Our  first  drive  in  this  eccentric  vehicle 
was  most  amusing.  Scarcely  had  we  started, 
the  donkeys  tearing  madly  down  a  steep 
donga,  when  the  seat  fell  out,  landing  us  at 
the  bottom  of  the  cart.  I  was  driving  Sister 
Aimee  ;  Mr.  Fort  running  alongside  ;  a  black 
boy  trotting  behind.  Mr.  Algernon  Caul- 
field  met  us  at  the  bottom  of  the  donga,  just 
in  time  to  extricate  us.  The  reins,  whfch 
were  made  of  rope,  were  much  too  long,  and 
had  tied  us  up  in  a  complicated  knot.  The 
seat  having  been  recovered  and  replaced,  we 
made  another  start.  But  the  donkeys  sud- 
denly refused  to  go  on.  Mr.  Caulfield 
pushed,    Mr.    Fort    pulled,   we  all    shrieked 

xi  *  IN  MASHONALAND  281 

encouragement  in  chorus,  but  nothing  moved 
the  donkeys.  Suddenly,  during  a  pause  in 
our  efforts,  they  rushed  on  again,  nearly  up- 
setting the  seat  a  second  time. 

Finally,  however,  we  arrived  at  Mr.  Fort's 
camp  safe  and  sound.  Here  a  surprise 
awaited  us  in  the  shape  of  a  real  luncheon, 
neatly  laid  on  a  real  tablecloth.  Actually 
there  were  china  cups !  No  one  who  has  not 
been  obliged  to  drink  tea  out  of  tin  mugs  can 
realise  the  pleasure  of  drinking  it  out  of 
china.  These  cups  eventually  found  their 
way  to  the  hospital.  We  could  not  under- 
stand having  two  forks  in  the  course  of  a 
meal,  and  were  disposed  to  cling  desperately 
to  those^  we  had  used.  Mr.  Seymour-Fort 
declared  that  he  had  never  entertained  such 
ill-behaved  people.  We  screamed  at  the 
appearance  of  a  bond-fide  teapot,  and  went 
into  positive  rapture  when  a  salad  was  served. 

After  luncheon  we  decided  on  walking 
home  through  the  valley,  as  it  was  rather 
dull  having  to  return  by  the  same  road. 
Abandoning  the   "carriage,"   we  descended 


the  steep  hill,  on  the  top  of  which  Mr.  Fort's 
camp  was  pitched,  and  walked  through  the  tall 
grass  and  rich  vegetation  of  the  narrow  valley 
below,  where  groups  of  palms,  sheltered  by 
hills  from  the  violent  winds  that  sweep  over 
the  plain,  wave  their  graceful  branches  on 
the  banks  of  sleepy  streams. 

It  was  hot,  but  not  unpleasantly  so.  By 
and  by  the  sun  sank  in  the  west,  and  we 
finished  our  walk  by  moonlight.  The  fairy- 
like beauty  of  tropical  moonlight  can  only  be 
felt ;  it  cannot  be  described.  It  seemed  a 
crime  to  turn  one's  back  on  a  scene  of  such 
beauty,  and  go  prosaically  to  bed.  But  prose 
eventually  carries  the  day  in  all  such  situa- 
tions— worse  luck !  The  next  day  a  bad 
case  was  brought  to  the  hospital.  We  had 
done  well  to  take  advantage  at  once  of  a  day's 

This  expedition  had  been  so  successful, 
that  Mr.  Fort  suggested  that  we  should  buy 
the  donkey-cart.  He  would  exchange  a  pair 
of  excellent  donkeys,  ''accustomed  to  harness," 
for  two  which  the  Bishop  had  given  us.    We 


accepted  the  offer  with  joy.  A  bargain  was 
soon  struck  with  the  digger  who  owned  the 
cart,  and  we  became  possessed  of  a  "  carriage 
and  pair " !  This  equipage  was  a  great 
resource.  When  patients  were  convalescent 
and  up,  we  could  harness  the  "thorough- 
breds" and  escape  for  an  hour.  The  com- 
bination of  fresh  air  without  exertion,  and  an 
entire  change  of  scene,  though  only  attain- 
able for  so  short  a  time,  did  us  a  world  of 
good.  When  we  got  back  to  the  wards  we 
could  be  cheery  without  an  effort,  and  had 
generally  something  to  tell  our  patients  about 
our  driving  adventures. 

It  was  rarely  that  our  drives  were  quite 
uneventful.  The  donkeys  —  sweet  beasts, 
which  we  christened  "  Pills  and  Powders" — 
had  mouths  like  cast-iron,  and  nearly  pulled 
my  arms  off.  If  they  determined  to  abandon 
the  road  and  tear  madly  over  the  veldt,  no 
earthly  force  could  stop  them.  The  cart  was 
so  light  that  I  could  pull  it  myself,  and  it 
merely  served  to  urge  the  donkeys  on  by 
clattering  at  their  heels.      Later  on   I  got 


them  in  hand,  and  they  were  much  better 

Some  one  else  was  as  delighted  with  our 
new  acquisition  as  we  were.  This  was  Eric, 
our  little  blue  monkey.  No  one  ever  had 
such  a  charming  monkey  before  or  since 
— so  clean,  so  full  of  fun,  and  so  affectionate. 
It  was  a  sight  to  see  him  sitting  on  "  Pills's" 
big,  shaggy  head,  examining  his  long  ears 
with  great  interest.  Eric  had  an  inquiring 
mind,  and  evidently  wanted  to  know  the 
reason  of  everything.  He  used  to  sit  on  the 
calves'  backs  as  they  were  lying  down  asleep, 
pull  their  eyelids  open  and  peep  inside. 
They  never  seemed  to  mind  a  bit.  He  was 
a  sort  of  sentinel  too,  giving  notice  of  any 
stranger's  approach.  One  day,  being  chained 
to  a  long  pole  in  front  of  our  sleeping-hut,  he 
made  an  awful  noise,  shrieking,  chattering, 
springing  up  and  down,  staring  all  the  time 
into  our  hut.  We  picked  him  up,  tried  to 
pacify  him,  and  brought  him  milk,  but  all  in 
vain.  Sister  Aimee  going  presently  into  the 
hut  to  fetch  something  saw  the  cause  of  the 


disturbance.  A  large  snake  was  gliding 
about  the  place,  and,  at  her  approach,  it 
darted  into  my  blankets.  We  summoned  all 
the  natives,  who  killed  the  reptile  with  their 

It  was  lucky  for  us  that  we  were  both 
so  fond  of  animals,  for  our  life  was,  as  a  rule, 
very  monotonous.  For  one  day  off,  which  we 
enjoyed  immensely,  we  were  weeks  without 
the  slightest  break  in  the  routine  of  cooking, 
nursing — nursing,  cooking.  No  one  with 
merely  a  professional  interest  in  the  work 
could  have  endured  the  life.  The  cases  were 
nearly  all  of  fever.  Many  were  very  bad, 
and  had  serious  complications  ;  we  lost  about 
ten  per  cent.  But  there  was,  of  course,  none 
of  the  life  and  variety  of  London  hospital 
work.  We  had  a  coolie  cook  during  the  last 
rainy  season  we  spent  in  Mashonaland.  This 
was  a  very  great  help.  We  were  both  get- 
ting rather  run  down,  and  could  not  have 
gone  on  without  one. 

We  had  a  curious  experience  at  the  be- 
ginning of  these  rains.     Dr.   Johnston  was 

286  ADVENTURES  chap. 

recalled  to  England.  Mr.  Caulfield,  who  was 
acting  as  dispenser,  went  with  him.  The 
doctor  had  been  very  good  to  us,  and  we 
regretted  his  departure  deeply.  A  substitute 
had  been  appointed,  but  had  not  arrived. 
The  patients  in  hospital  were  convalescent ; 
we  discharged  them  in  a  few7  days,  hoping 
they  would  not  be  replaced  till  the  new 
doctor  arrived.  This  was  a  vain  hope. 
Two  days  later  a  procession  wound  its  way 
across  the  plain,  appearing  to  come  from 
Masse-Kesse.  First  walked  a  native  carry- 
ing a  note  stuck  in  a  split  reed.  He  held 
the  bamboo  in  front  of  him,  like  a  candle- 
bearer  in  a  procession,  and  every  now  and 
then  the  white  note  caught  the  rays  of  the 
sun.  Then  followed  a  "  machila,"  that  is,  a 
sort  of  canvas  hammock  slung  on  a  long 
pole,  which  two  or  four  natives  carry  on 
their  shoulders.  Out  of  the  hammock  hung 
a  limp-looking  leg.  We  made  out  all  this 
with  our  field-glasses.  Two  boys  walked 
behind  the  "machila,"  but  they  carried  no 
luggage  on  their  heads — an  ominous  sign. 


A  mere  traveller  would  certainly  have  stores 
and  blankets.  As  we  expected,  the  bearers 
made  straight  for  the  hospital,  recognisable 
by  its  Red  Cross  flag.  Was  this  indeed  a 
terrible  accident  such  as  we  had  often  talked 
of?  We  hoped  against  hope,  and  went 
down  to  the  gate  to  receive  the  sick  man. 

The  machila  contained  a  young  English- 
man, who  had  been  sent  over  from  Masse- 
Kesse,  a  distance  of  about  eighteen  or  twenty 
miles.  Though  this  place  is  a  very  fever 
nest,  the  Mozambique  Company  had  unfor- 
tunately no  doctor  there.  Several  sick  were 
brought  over  to  us  from  that  place.  Our 
new  patient  had  remittent  fever  badly,  and 
a  twenty-mile  journey  in  a  broiling  sun  had 
not  improved  his  condition.  We  had  great 
trouble  and  anxiety  about  him.  Before 
coming  to  us  he  had  tried  every  sort  of 
quack  medicine,  taking  everything  recom- 
mended by  anybody,  and  swallowing  all  the 
remedies  one  after  the  other.  We  were 
very  glad  indeed  to  see  him  turn  the  corner. 

There  were  a  good  many  slight  cases  of 

288  ADVENTURES  chap. 

fever  in  the  district,  and  we  enjoyed  driving 
the  donkeys  on  what  we  called  "  our  rounds." 
I  called  myself  "  Paget n  and  Sister  Aimee 
"Andrew  Clark."  We  were  extremely  pro- 
fessional on  these  visits,  and  were  com- 
plimented on  our  excellent  "bedside  manner." 

It  was  a  time  of  anxiety  of  course ;  yet 
amusing  things  happened. 

One  day,  for  instance,  a  distant  farmer 
sent  us  a  note  marked  urgent,  and  thus  con- 
ceived:  "The  Sisters  are  requested  to  send 
six  strong  sleeping-draughts  at  once  by 
bearer.  Writer  has  had  fever — very  weak — 
can't  sleep."  Sister  Aimee  explained  that  the 
administration  of  six  strong  sleeping-draughts 
would  probably  be  followed  by  an  inquest ; 
and  we  sent  him  a  mild  one,  which,  we  after- 
wards heard,  answered  very  well.  Another 
man  wanted  a  dose  of  what  he  called 
"  Hydrag  :  Perchlor  :  powder."  This  is  a 
strong  poison,  being  in  other  words  corro- 
sive sublimate.  He  meant  calomel,  but 
wished  to  impress  us  with  his  professional 
knowledge  of  medical  terms.     Another  poor 


man  was  brought  over  from  Masse-Kesse  in 
a  hopeless  state.  He  lingered  for  a  few 
days,  and  died  in  the  midst  of  the  lion  scare 
described  in  a  former  chapter. 

Soon  after,  the  new  district  surgeon  arrived. 
His  boys  had  deserted  him  on  the  veldt.  He 
had  been  days  without  food,  and  in  a  raging 
fever.  He  was  still  very  ill,  and  had  to 
spend  a  fortnight  in  hospital. 

Umtali  was,  not  long  after,  agitated  by  a 
cause  cdlebre. 

In  a  moment  of  folly  and  impecuniosity 
one  of  the  settlers  paid  his  boys  with  gilded 
shillings,  instead  of  with  sovereigns.  These 
coins,  of  the  Jubilee  type,  were,  when  gilded, 
very  like  sovereigns,  excepting  for  their 
weight.  Some  one,  it  was  never  known 
who,  had  brought  them  into  the  country 
for  no  good  purpose.  A  native  who  had 
received  several  of  these  false  coins,  hap- 
pened to  tramp  up  to  Salisbury,  and  to  go 
shopping.  Of  course  at  the  very  first  store 
he  entered  the  fraud  was  detected. 

An  inquiry  being  instituted,  a  number  of 

290  ADVENTURES  chap. 

other  natives  who  had  been  similarly  deceived 
appeared  to  give  evidence.  Their  former 
master  was  arrested.  Umtali  was  in  a  fer- 
ment. Public  opinion  was  divided.  Many 
declared  it  was  "jolly  sharp"  of  the  delin- 
quent. A  shilling,  they  averred,  was  quite 
enough  for  a  native — much  too  good  for 
him,  in  fact. 

The  court-house  was  packed  on  the  day  of 
the  trial.  The  white  man  being  found  guilty, 
great  curiosity  was  evinced  as  to  what  his 
sentence  would  be.  Would  he  have  hard 
labour,  or  a  fine  ?  Betting  ran  high. 
Finally  he  was  condemned  to  pay  a  fine  of 
£$o.  No  sooner  was  his  condemnation 
made  known  than  he  became  a  sort  of  hero. 
Nothing  was  heard  but  "  poor  fellow — what 
hard  lines  !  "  Trusting  that  popular  sym- 
pathy would  take  a  substantial  form,  the 
prisoner  declared  that  he  could  not  pay. 
But  the  arm  of  the  law  was  extended,  and 
bore  him  off  to  gaol.  After  twenty-four 
hours  of  reflection  in  this  retreat,  the  money 
was  paid  and  he  was  released.     For  a  long 


time  after,  no  native  would  accept  a  sove- 
reign, unless  it  had  St.  George  and  the  Dragon 
on  it.  As  it  was  difficult  to  obtain  any  gold 
at  all,  it  may  be  imagined  what  trouble  this 
reasonable  prejudice  gave  to  the  whole 

Umtali  had  been  very  steady  for  some 
time, — abnormally  steady,  some  people  said. 
A  slight  and  rather  amusing  incident  swung 
the  pendulum  back  in  the  direction  of  former 

A  prospector  arrived  whose  name  was 
Mr.  George  Dam.  Naturally  enough  he 
strolled  into  a  bar,  and  asked  for  a  drink. 
"  And  what  is  your  name? "  said  one  of  the 
men  standing  by.     "  Dam,"  was  the  answer. 

"  D yourself,"  was  the  immediate  retort, 

"what  is  your  name?  " — "  Dam,  I  tell  you,  " 
cried  the  stranger.  Unholy  adjectives  flew 
round.  "What  is  his  name  ?  " — "Won't  he 
give  his  name?" — "What  is  your  name?" 
roared  the  whole  assembly.  "  Dam," 
shrieked  the  prospector  for  the  third  time. 
This  was  more  than  could  be  endured,  and  a 

292  ADVENTURES  chap. 

free  fight  ensued.  I  do  not  know  which 
party  was  victorious  ;  certain  it  is,  that  there 
were  a  great  many  black  eyes  walking  about 
the  next  day,  and  it  was  some  time  before 
the  town  settled  down  again. 

A  great  find  of  gold  was  made  close  to 
the  township.  The  quartz  was  like  white 
sugar,  and  was  largely  scattered  with  lumps 
as  big  as  a  pin's  head,  and  flakes  of  visible 
gold.  There  were  long  yellow  veins  of 
gold,  running  through  almost  every  specimen 
of  quartz.  At  first  it  was  supposed  that  the 
reef  would  become  less  rich  as  the  shaft  was 
sunk  deeper.  Instead  of  this  it  became 
richer  and  richer.  The  ferment  and  agitation 
of  the  community  may  be  imagined.  Every 
one  rushed  about  in  every  direction,  looking 
for  the  continuation  of  the  reef ;  but  I  do  not 
think  any  one  found  it. 

People  stumble  on  rich  finds  in  unexpected 
places,  which  had  been  pronounced  barren  of 
metal  a  few  weeks  before.  I  myself  have 
seen  a  piece  of  quartzite,  which  an  expert 
had  declared  to  be  mere  dirt  that  could  not 


possibly  carry  gold,  pan  with  extraordinary 
richness.  It  is  this  uncertainty  which  lends 
a  special  fascination  to  gold  prospecting. 
The  men  with  the  most  technical  knowledge 
are  not,  therefore,  the  most  successful. 

We  of  course  knew  only  by  hearsay  of 
the  gold  finds.  But  every  one  told  us  that 
the  goldfields  of  Manica  were  extraordinarily 
good.  This  country  is  said  to  be  the  ancient 
land  of  Ophir  where  the  Queen  of  Sheba 
reigned,  and  whence  she  sent  gold,  myrrh, 
and  spices,  to  the  Wise  King.  However, 
this,  of  course,  is  pure  conjecture. 


The  hospital  empty  at  last — An  expedition  proposed — We 
trek  to  the  Odzani — A  picnic  —  Our  camp  by  the 
"Slippery  Drift" — The  march  to  M'Tassa's  kraal— 
A  wearisome  delay  —  The  King  appears  —  A  noisy 
palaver — Offering  a  present — Kaffir  beer — The  King 
is  photographed — Bushman  drawings — Return  home 
—  Cattle  stealing  —  A  warlike  expedition  —  The 
"Artillery"  borrow  our  donkey-harness  —  An  awful 
old  woman — Return  of  the  expedition — News  of  the 
Bishop's  return  —  Nurses  to  relieve  us  —  The  Beira 
Railway — The  Jesuit  Mission — Splendid  organisation. 

It  was  in  September  1892  that  the  hospital 
was  first  empty  for  a  few  days.  It  underwent 
a  thorough  renovating  ;  the  mud  walls  being 
re-daghered,  and  the  mats  that  covered  them 
carbolised,  where  it  was  not  possible  to  renew 
them.  Everything  being  in  apple-pie  order, 
and  the  health  of  the  country  being  good, 
Dr.  Johnston,  then  on  the  eve  of  his  departure 
for  England,  proposed  that  we  should  accom- 

chap,  xii  ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND    295 

pany  him  and  the  Civil  Commissioner  to 
M'Tassa's  kraal. 

This  Chief  was  very  rarely  seen  by  any 
one.  His  large  leisure  was  almost  entirely 
employed  in  conjugating  the  verb  to  drink. 
More  than  once  the  Company's  officials  had 
gone  over  to  his  mountain  lair,  and  had  been 
obliged  to  return  without  having  been  re- 
ceived by  him.  On  this  occasion,  however, 
he  was  almost  sure  to  appear,  since  the 
annual  present  of  ^100,  which  the  Company 
gives  him,  was  to  be  presented. 

We,  of  course,  jumped  at  the  idea,  and 
proposed  driving  "  Pills  and  Powders"  as  far 
as  practicable,  and  then  walking.  This  was, 
however,  declared  to  be  impossible.  One  of 
the  camp  Scotch-carts,  which  vehicle  looks 
like  a  waggon  cut  in  half,  was  put  into 
requisition.  A  tent  was  deposited  at  the 
bottom,  on  the  top  of  which  rugs,  blankets, 
etc.,  were  piled.     The  men  were  to  ride. 

One  fine  morning,  therefore,  we  climbed 
into  our  Scotch -cart,  drawn  by  a  span  of 
eight   oxen,    and    trekked    gaily   across    the 

296  ADVENTURES  chap. 

veldt.  We  halted  for  luncheon  under  a 
group  of  trees.  There  is  something  very- 
enjoyable  in  these  African  picnics.  The  air 
is  so  pure,  the  sky  so  cloudless.  There  is 
no  busy,  hurrying,  noisy  town,  in  the  back- 
ground ;  immense  solitudes  surround  one. 
With  a  certain  sense  of  lotus-eating  enjoy- 
ment, one  abandons  oneself  to  the  influences 
of  the  hour.  Leaning  back  in  the  shade 
of  the  cart,  one  lazily  watches  the  natives 
lighting  fires  and  boiling  kettles ;  while,  near 
at  hand,  the  large-eyed  oxen  wander  slowly 
along,  crushing  aromatic  herbs  beneath  their 
tread  as  they  feed.  A  thin  column  of  blue 
smoke  rises  from  the  fires  round  which  the 
boys  sit,  singing  a  monotonous  chant,  which 
harmonises  with  the  surroundings  as  nothing 
else  would.  Then  the  water  boils,  tea  is 
made,  luncheon  is  ready.  Surely  bread  and 
corned  beef  never  could  taste  so  good  under 
any  other  circumstances !  Such  is  my  im- 
pression of  this  picnic,  and  of  many  like  it. 

Luncheon  being  over  we  inspanned,  and 
set  off  again,  reaching  the  "Slippery  Drift" 

xii  IN  MASHONALAND  297 

at  the  Odzani  river  at  half-past  four  in  the 
afternoon.  Here  we  were  to  halt  for  the 
night.  It  was  a  lovely  river,  rushing  over 
a  granite  bed,  swirling  round  great  boulders, 
and  gliding  swiftly  and  sombrely  between 
dark  granite  cliffs.  A  narrow  line  of  thick 
bush  belted  the  river  on  either  side. 

This  ford  had  received  the  name  of 
"  Slippery  Drift,"  from  the  fact  that  the 
shallow  water  here  covered  flat  granite  rocks 
as  smooth  as  glass.  A  horseman  was  never 
quite  sure  of  reaching  the  other  side  without 
a  ducking.  Even  on  foot  it  was  difficult  to 
avoid  slipping.  When  the  rains  had  swollen 
the  river  it  was  very  dangerous,  for  horse 
and  rider  would  be  swept  away  with  resistless 
force  if  either  made  the  slightest  mistake. 
Often  it  was  wholly  impassable.  In  Sep' 
tember  it  was,  of  course,  quite  shallow. 

Our  tent  was  pitched  on  the  banks  of  this 
most  picturesque  river  ;  and  whilst  we  carried 
our  towels  behind  a  big  rock  and  had  a 
wash,  tea  was  made  ready.  We  sat  on  a 
semi-circle  of  big  rocks,  and  sipped  it  slowly, 

298  ADVENTURES  chap. 

wondering,  as  we  did  so,  what  sort  of  "five 
o'clock "  the  Queen  of  Sheba  indulged  in ! 
A  cheery  little  dinner  in  the  tent  followed, 
and  then  we  strolled  out  in  the  moonlight, 
and  sat  on  the  rocks,  watching  the  river 
and  chattering,  till  Dr.  Johnston  declared  he 
could  no  longer  countenance  such  insanitary 
proceedings,  and  we  must  go  to  bed.  There- 
upon Sister  Lucy  and  I  retired  to  the  tent, 
the  men  making  themselves  comfortable 
under  the  Scotch-cart,  and  the  natives  beside 
the  fires. 

The  next  morning  we  were  up  betimes, 
and  after  a  hurried  breakfast  we  got  into  the 
Scotch-cart,  which  the  men  pushed  into  the 
middle  of  the  river.  From  there  we  were 
able  to  step  on  a  rock,  then  on  to  another, 
and  so  safely  to  land.  The  men  waded 
through.  We  then  set  out  to  walk  to  the 
King's  village,  a  distance  of  about  four  miles. 
The  path  wound  upwards  along  a  mountain 
side,  through  a  narrow  defile.  On  either 
side  huge  rocks  towered  above  us.  Down 
below  was  a  chaos  of  rocks  and  boulders. 

xii  IN  MASHONALAND  299 

The  whole  was  intermixed  with  the  scrubby 
bush  which  abounds  in  this  part  of  Africa, 
though  there  seem  to  be  no  tall  forest  trees. 

We  all  walked  in  the  usual  single  file 
along  a  narrow  native  track.  The  whole  of 
Africa  is  intersected  by  these  paths,  which 
are  never  straight,  but  curve  from  one  side 
to  another.  We  often  asked  why  a  native 
proceeds  in  this  roundabout  way,  and  one  or 
two  people  told  me  that  every  one  has  a 
natural  tendency  to  go  more  to  the  right 
than  the  left,  and  that  instinct  leads  the 
native  to  correct  this  by  taking  a  turn  in  the 
other  direction.  On  the  other  hand,  we 
constantly  noticed  that  natives  are  incapable 
of  making  a  straight  line.  They  never  put 
a  mat  down  straight,  nor  can  they  build  a 
straight  wall,  nor  cut  a  straight  furrow. 

Our  path  wound  higher  and  higher,  and 
led  to  the  foot  of  a  steep  cliff,  up  which  we 
scrambled,  arriving  at  a  species  of  small 
plateau,  with  a  precipice  on  one  side  and 
piles  of  rocks  on  the  other.  We  could  see 
no  huts,  though  we  were  almost  in  the  kraal. 


The  low  beehives  were  built  behind  rocks 
or  trees,  and  were  so  cleverly  contrived  as  to 
be  quite  invisible  to  a  raiding  force.  Indeed, 
we  were  told  that  an  Impi  of  Gungunyama's 
men  from  Gazaland  had  declared  this  village 
to  be  quite  impregnable,  and  had  returned 
home,  raiding  as  they  went. 

A  messenger  was  sent  on  to  inform 
M'Tassa  of  our  arrival.  Not  a  native  was 
to  be  seen — though  of  course  they  had 
watched  us  encamp  at  the  Odzani,  and  had 
probably  followed  us  all  the  way  to  our 
present  halting-place.  After  a  few  moments' 
delay  we  followed  our  messenger,  and 
entered  the  outer  kraal :  the  one  in  which 
the  chief  lives  being  a  good  deal  higher  up, 
and  strongly  stockaded.  We  were  con- 
ducted by  an  Induna  to  a  small  hut,  where 
fresh  mats  were  put  down  for  us  ;  but,  finding 
it  likely  that  we  should  have  to  wait  a  long 
time,  we  had  the  mats  taken  outside,  and, 
seated  on  them,  watched  the  strange  scene. 

Every  rock  and  boulder  was  covered  with 
natives — men,  women,  and  children.     They 

xii  IN  MASHONALAND  301 

looked  like  crowds  of  flies  that  had  settled 
on  the  granite.  They  did  not  talk,  but 
stared  with  all  their  eyes.  I  should  think 
we  must  have  waited  an  hour,  and  then  sent 
a  messenger  to  inquire  whether  M'Tassa 
meant  to  appear  or  not.  The  answer  was 
that  the  Chief  was  coming.  Meanwhile,  he 
sent  a  huge  pot  of  native  beer,  a  rather 
nauseous  compound  made  from  Kaffir-corn. 
We  waited  another  hour,  and  then  it  was 
proposed  that  we  should  stroll  through  the 
King's  kraal.  He  would  dislike  this  very 
much,  and  would  probably  put  in  an 

We  carried  out  this  project,  and  no  sooner 
were  we  inside  the  stockade,  than  an  Induna 
hurried  up  to  us,  assuring  us  that  M'Tassa 
would  see  us  directly,  if  we  would  only  go 
back  to  our  mats.  We  did  so,  and  in  a 
few  moments  a  great  noise  announced  the 
approach  of  the  Chief. 

A  picturesque  procession  came  winding  in 
and  out  through  the  crags  and  boulders,  and 
descended  slowly  towards  us.     First  ran  a 

302  ADVENTURES  chap. 

sort  of  herald,  crying  out,  "  Here  comes 
M'Tassa ! — Lord  of  the  Sun  and  Moon  ! — 
The  Dog  that  prowls  by  night ! — The  Eater 
up  of  white  men ! "  and  a  great  deal  more 
foolishness.  Then  followed  a  number  of 
men,  the  dignity  of  whose  march  was  some- 
what detracted  from  by  the  rags  of  dirty 
limbo  in  which  many  of  them  were  draped. 
To  these  succeeded  a  man  carrying  a  beauti- 
ful battle-axe,  made  of  black  polished  wood, 
curiously  inlaid  with  brass.  After  him  came 
M'Tassa  himself.  He  was  a  tall,  stout  man  ; 
draped  in  blue  and  white  limbo,  worn  some- 
what after  the  fashion  of  a  toga ;  and  with  a 
blue  and  white  cricketing  cap  on  his  head. 
His  hair  was  woolly,  but  his  features  were 
rather  fine.  He  walked  well,  and  came  for- 
ward with  a  decidedly  dignified  air,  offering 
us  his  hand,  which  was  slender  and  well- 
shaped,  but  extremely  dirty.  A  mat  was 
unrolled  for  the  "  King,"  and  his  men 
squatted  round  him.  A  good -sized  tree 
threw  its  shadow  over  M'Tassa ;  a  number 
of    slender   bamboos   and   young   trees   hid 

xii  IN  MASHONALAND  303 

the  rocks  on  this  spot.  No  doubt  the 
natives  were  accustomed  to  meet  here  for 
their  dances  and  "  palavers." 

A  most  noisy  " palaver"  this  was.  Certain 
natives  had  run  away  from  Mr.  Selous,  and 
were  said  to  have  stolen  some  meal.  M'Tassa 
was  requested  to  give  them  up.  Our  inter- 
preter explained  this  to  the  head  Induna,  who 
in  turn  explained  to  his  Chief.  The  latter 
kept  up  an  admirable  feint  of  never  under- 
standing anything  that  was  said  until  his 
Induna  explained  it  to  him.  He  eyed  us 
furtively,  but  always  tried  to  pretend  not  to 
be  looking  at  us  if  we  caught  his  eye. 

One  party  in  the  kraal  were  for  giving  up 
the  boys;  the  other  party  was  anti -white, 
and  was  headed  by  a  ruffianly -looking  per- 
son, who  had  combed  out  his  wool  until  it 
had  acquired  quite  a  respectable  length,  and 
who  was  of  an  extremely  ferocious  appear- 
ance. He  got  up,  and  yelled  and  shouted, 
until  M'Tassa  shook  his  fists  at  him,  and 
yelled  louder  still.  Meanwhile  we  had  been 
looking  at  the  battle-axe  with  covetous  eyes, 

304  ADVENTURES  chap. 

and  suddenly,  forgetful  of  etiquette,  exclaimed 
in  Mashona,  "  M'Tassa !  we  want  your  battle- 
axe  ;  will  you  trade  ?  "  A  moment  of  shocked 
silence  followed,  then  a  hubbub,  and  then 
a  good  deal  of  laughing.  M'Tassa  good- 
naturedly  caused  his  Induna  to  explain  that 
he  could  not  part  with  the  weapon,  because 
it  always  belonged  to  the  Chief,  and  his  son 
would  have  it  after  him. 

To  change  the  conversation,  and  divert 
the  current  of  people's  thoughts,  the  "pre- 
sent "  was  produced.  Two  rolls  of  limbo, 
one  blue,  one  white,  of  about  thirty  yards 
each,  were  deposited  in  front  of  the  Chief, 
and  a  hundred  golden  sovereigns  were  poured 
out  on  them.  The  king  looked  very  slightly 
at  it,  and  showed  no  pleasure.  This  is 
etiquette.  After  a  few  moments,  M'Tassa 
condescended  to  explain  through  his  head- 
man that  he  did  not  care  for  gold,  but  that 
he  would  accept  limbo  in  place  of  it,  since 
the  white  men  were  so  anxious  to  make 
him  presents. 

This    point    being    settled,   Dr.  Johnston 

xii  IN  MASHONALAND  305 

asked  if  he  might  photograph  the  chief  and 
his  people.  He  said  he  would  take  M'Tassa's 
likeness  to  England,  and  perhaps  the  "  Great 
White  Queen  "  would  see  it,  and  recognise 
what  a  great  chief  M'Tassa  was.  To  every- 
one's surprise,  permission  was  given,  and 
a  very  characteristic  and  picturesque  photo- 
graph was  the  result,  though  the  King  rather 
spoilt  himself  by  pulling  his  "  toga  "  up  about 
his  ears.  The  Chief  now  sent  for  a  small  pot 
of  beer — his  own  special  brew.  We  all  tasted 
this,  and  found  it  really  excellent.  It  was 
sweetened  with  honey,  and  was  very  different 
from  the  beer  generally  in  use. 

We  were  anxious  to  leave,  having  a  good 
walk  back  to  the  Odzani,  and  being  desirous 
of  getting  back  to  Umtali  that  evening.  So 
Dr.  Johnston  put  up  his  apparatus,  and,  evi- 
dently being  looked  upon  as  a  great  sorcerer 
by  the  natives,  made  his  adieux  to  M'Tassa. 
We  all  hurried  down  the  cliff,  pausing  at  the 
bottom  to  search  for  a  great  rock,  on  which 
Mr.  Selous  had  told  us  some  interesting 
bushman  drawings  were  to  be  seen — a  proof 

3o6  ADVENTURES  chap. 

that  in  some  far  distant  time  the  bushmen 
lived  in  Mashonaland  and  Manica. 

These  bushmen  are  supposed  to  have 
been  the  original  inhabitants  of  Africa. 
They  are  of  low  stature,  their  speech  is 
made  up  of  clicks,  they  have  no  settled 
dwellings,  and  they  live  altogether  by  hunt- 
ing and  fishing.  They  are,  in  fact,  a  very 
low  order  of  savage.  We  could  not  find 
out,  from  any  one  who  had  been  among 
them,  whether  the  bushmen  of  these  days 
show  any  talent  for  drawing.  Their  fore- 
fathers have  left  most  beautiful  and  delicate 
specimens  of  their  art,  traced  in  yellow  and 
red  pigment  on  the  rocks.  The  sketches 
reminded  us  of  those  executed  by  the  cave- 
men —  outlines  of  various  kinds  of  buck, 
elephants,  and  other  animals,  dashed  in  with 
a  boldness  and  directness  which  any  modern 
animal  painter  might  envy.  No  one  could 
tell  us  of  what  the  pigment  was  made.  It 
seems  wonderful  that  it  should  have  with- 
stood the  weather,  for  who  shall  say  how 
long  !      I   am  sorry  to  say  that  some  white 

xii  IN  MASHONALAND  307 

men  of  the  "  'Any  "  species  have  thought  it 
funny  and  clever  to  add  to  the  collection. 
Another  of  these  strange  picture  galleries 
exists  near  Fort  Salisbury.  We  questioned 
the  natives  about  them  through  the  inter- 
preter, but  they  could  give  no  account  of 
them.  No  one  knew,  they  said ;  no  one 
could  count  the  moons  since  they  were 
shaped.  We  thought  them  one  of  the 
most  interesting  sights  we  had  seen  in  this 
strange  land.  It  was,  however,  impossible 
to  linger,  and  we  hurried  along  to  the 
waggon.  The  heat  was  great,  and  we  were 
very  glad  indeed  to  see  the  Odzani  glittering 
in  the  sun.  We  had  an  uneventful  trek 
home,  reaching  the  hospital  when  the  moon 
was  high. 

Some  short  time  after  this  excursion,  a 
neighbouring  kraal  excited  the  wrath  of  the 
white  men,  by  stealing  the  Company's  oxen. 
The  head-man  of  the  village  refused  to  give 
up  the  culprits,  or  make  any  compensation. 
In  consequence,  an  expedition  was  planned  to 
punish  the  kraal.     A  good  trek-ox  is  a  very 


valuable  animal  up  in  Mashonaland,  and  if 
one  village  had  found  it  possible  to  steal 
cattle  with  impunity,  the  others  would  soon 
have  imitated  the  example.  It  was  decided 
that  the  erring  kraal  must  be  thoroughly 
frightened,  and  then  fined. 

Accordingly  a  Maxim  gun  was  to  be  taken 
with  the  expedition.  But  how  was  it  to  be 
got  there  ?  That  was  the  question  !  There 
was  no  harness  to  be  had ;  and  finally,  to 
our  great  amusement,  the  "  Government " 
borrowed  our  donkey  harness.  It  was 
enlarged  to  fit  a  couple  of  horses,  and  the 
artillery  was  ready  for  action.  We  watched 
the  start  with  much  interest.  But  alas !  at 
about  five  hundred  yards  from  the  hospital, 
the  Maxim  had  to  cross  a  small  ford,  lying 
at  the  foot  of  a  steep  hill.  Here  the  horses 
jibbed,  plunged,  and  could  not  be  induced  to 
go  a  step  farther.  Men  were  sent  back  to 
the  camp  for  a  span  of  oxen  to  replace  the 
horses,  and  the  expedition  proceeded  on 
its  way.  Evil  fate  pursued  it  however. 
Torrents  of  rain  fell  night  and  day.      The 

xii  IN  MASHONALAND  309 

Maxim  could  not  be  dragged  anywhere  near 
the  kraal,  and  had  to  be  abandoned  for  the 
moment  on  the  veldt. 

Meanwhile  news  of  these  preparations  had 
been  noised  abroad.  The  offending  natives 
fled  from  their  village — a  wretched  group  of 
huts — taking  cattle  and  goods  with  them. 
The  Company's  forces  were  met  by  one 
awful  old  woman,  who  denounced  them  in 
an  unintelligible  dialect.  No  doubt  it  was 
just  as  well  that  no  one  understood  her. 
Natives  have  a  fine  talent  for  abuse  of  all 
kinds,  and  we  heard  that  the  old  lady  sounded 
as  if  she  was  saying  "swears."  The  police 
burnt  an  empty  hut  as  an  example,  and 
carried  off  a  goat  and  a  few  fowls.  They 
kindly  brought  us  some  curiosities  in  the 
shape  of  fire  -  sticks,  arrows,  a  native 
piano,  and  a  few  odds  and  ends.  They 
would  have  enjoyed  being  attacked  by  an 
impi,  but  the  old  woman  struck  terror  into 
their  souls.  The  Maxim  was  extricated,  and 
came  home  meekly  after  the  expedition  had 
returned  to  Umtali.     On  the  whole,  perhaps, 

i^itbtm  mS  ******  f& 

himm  *****  wrifel  *  Imi  ?M*  *Q*to  xv 

312  ADVENTURES  chap. 

we  had  settled  to  wait  till  he  could  bring  the 
nurses  up  by  the  long  trek.  He  had  had  a 
most  delightful  spring  -  waggon  made  at 
Bristol,  and  he  proposed  sending  the  nurses 
up  in  this.  They  were  from  University 
College  Hospital.  He  intended  to  engage 
one  or  two  colonial  nurses  also.  Dr.  Knight 
Bruce  went  on  to  say  many  very  flattering 
things  about  our  work,  and  our  usefulness  to 
the  Mission.  We  have  kept  all  these  letters  ; 
they  are  pleasant  to  read  over  in  moments  of 
depression.  We  very  much  wished  we  had 
been  able  to  do  more. 

The  Jesuit  Mission  at  Fort  Salisbury  had 
made  very  rapid  strides.  We  had  arrived  up 
country  whilst  the  nuns  were  still  at  Tuli, 
and  in  1893  seventeen  religious  sisters  were 
in  Mashonaland.  They  not  only  nursed  the 
hospital  at  Fort  Salisbury,  but  had  opened  a 
school  there.  At  Victoria  also,  they  had 
charge  of  the  hospital. 

The  Rev.  Father  Kerr  had  a  large  in- 
dustrial farm  near  Fort  Salisbury,  and  we 
heard  that  a  number  of  Jesuit  lay-brothers 

xii  IN  MASHONALAND  313 

were  employed  on  it.  In  one  of  the  Admin- 
istrator's speeches,  he  said  that  he  believed 
that  the  agricultural  future  of  Mashonaland 
would  be  enormously  indebted  to  this  indus- 
trial farm.  The  Jesuits  also  worked  very 
actively  amongst  the  natives.  They  seemed 
to  have  no  lack  of  money  or  workers,  and  to 
be  most  efficiently  organised.  Our  efforts 
seemed  very  poor  and  small,  when  contrasted 
with  the  works  they  carried  out  on  so  large 
a  scale.  It  may  therefore  be  imagined  how 
much  we  rejoiced  over  the  long -looked -for 
return  of  the  Bishop,  and  how  glad  we  were 
to  hear  that  he  was  largely  supplied  with 
funds,  and  would  soon  be  able  to  place  the 
Mission  on  a  more  satisfactory  footing. 


Illness — Visit  from  a  leopard — Tedious  convalescence — 
Again  without  a  doctor — Arrival  of  the  Bishop — New 
nurses  on  the  way — Their  arrival  at  Umtali — A  split 
in  the  camp — A  touching  deputation — Farewell  to 
Umtali — Fever  en  route — In  the  train — Fontesvilla 
— Arrival  at  Beira  —  A  transformation  —  Lieutenant 
Hussey- Walsh— Hospitality — The  Consul's  ball. 

Since  Sister  Lucy's  serious  illness  in  March 
1892,  we  had  escaped  the  least  touch  of 
fever,  and,  personally,  I  had  enjoyed  excel- 
lent health.  Just,  however,  as  we  were 
congratulating  ourselves  on  our  escape,  and 
looking  forward  to  a  pleasant  journey  home, 
we  both  fell  victims  to  the  malaria  demon. 
We  had  four  attacks,  one  after  the  other,  and 
each  attack  prostrated  us  both  at  the  same 
time.  There  was  no  one  to  look  after  us 
but  a  native  lad.  He  sat  in  a  corner  of  our 
hut  all  day  ;  slept  on  the  floor  at  night ;  and, 

chap,  xiii  ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND   315 

having  been  carefully  trained  by  us  as 
hospital  boy,  could  change  our  blankets 
without  making  us  get  out  of  bed,  and  had 
some  idea  of  what  comfort  meant. 

Whichever  of  us  had  the  lower  temper- 
ature gave  the  other  her  medicines,  and 
looked  after  her  as  well  as  was  possible. 
We  made  the  best  of  the  situation,  but  I 
must  frankly  say  that  it  was  very  uncomfort- 
able, and  in  my  opinion  it  is  not  right  to 
leave  two  women  alone  in  a  womanless 
country.  Native  women,  even,  were  not 
available.  They  never  went  near  a  white 
encampment,  though  no  doubt  their  pre- 
judice will  be  overcome  as  time  goes  on. 

We  were  both  very  ill  indeed — so  ill 
that  we  heard  afterwards  our  graves  had 
been  dug ;  but  we  never  could  find  out 
whether  this  was  true  or  not.  One  night, 
when  we  were  both  at  our  worst,  the  doctor 
sat  up  all  night  with  us.  Sister  Lucy  was 
very  bad  indeed,  and  threatened  with  col- 
lapse. I  had  a  high  temperature  even  for 
Africa — 1060 — and    was    delirious    and    saw 


strange  visions.  The  door  of  our  hut  was 
of  the  kind  called  a  cottage  door,  and  so 
made  that  the  lower  part  could  be  shut, 
whilst  the  upper  portion  stood  half  open  on 
account  of  the  heat.  Suddenly  the  door 
shook  violently ;  a  shower  of  dagher  fell 
from  the  walls  ;  it  was  as  if  the  hut  were 
about  to  tumble  down.  Then,  on  the  top 
of  the  upper  door,  something  large,  black, 
extraordinary,  seemed  to  appear.  The 
doctor  had  turned  round  at  the  noise,  and 
I,  who  faced  the  door,  shrieked  out  that 
something  terrible  was  coming  in  ! 

Dr.  Wilson,  a  big,  somewhat  slow  and 
phlegmatic  Scotchman,  jumped  across  the  hut 
in  a  most  unusual  and  unprofessional  hurry, 
and  banged  the  door  with  a  violence  that 
shook  the  whole  hut,  and  appeared  most  un- 
necessary. He  easily  persuaded  us  that 
there  was  nothing  near  the  door ;  that  my 
delirious  fancy  had  created  the  monstrous 
black  thing ;  and  that  he  had  only  shut  the 
door  because  the  temperature  changes  to- 
wards morning,  and  sunrise  is  almost  as  un- 

xin  IN  MASHONALAND  317 

healthy  as  sunset.  But,  when  we  were  out 
of  danger,  the  doctor  informed  us  that  a 
leopard  had  been  wandering  about  our  com- 
pound all  night ;  had  sprung  upon  our  door  ; 
and  was  gathering  itself  up  to  drop  into 
the  hut,  when  he  flung  the  door  to,  and  so 
shook  the  creature  off,  and  frightened  it 
away.  It  consoled  itself  in  the  Police  Camp 
with  a  couple  of  goats,  which  it  killed  and 
partly  devoured.  People  assured  us  that 
the  leopard  would  have  been  so  frightened 
of  us  that  it  would  not  have  done  us  any 
harm,  but  we  both  agreed  in  being  extremely 
glad  that  Dr.  Wilson  prevented  the  experi- 
ment from  being  tried. 

We  found  our  convalescence  very  tedious. 
The  natives  did  their  best,  and  an  old  white 
sailor,  who  had  succeeded  Charlie,  our  coolie 
cook,  made  great  efforts  to  shine  as  a  pro- 
fessor of  invalid  cookery.  But  we  could  not 
do  justice  to  his  attempts.  With  the  best 
intentions  in  the  world,  and  the  greatest 
desire  not  to  be  troublesome,  it  is  im- 
possible for  sick  people  to  eat  unappetising 


food,  roughly  prepared  and  roughly  served. 
We  did  not  therefore  recover  very  fast,  and 
had  more  than  one  bad  relapse.  I  do  not 
know  how  matters  would  have  ended  if  our 
friend,  Mr.  Seymour-Fort,  had  not  come  to 
the  rescue.  He  happened  to  have  with  him 
a  Portuguese-speaking  native,  who  had  a  fair 
idea  of  cooking ;  and  every  day  runners 
came  from  Mr.  Fort's  camp,  a  distance  of 
four  miles,  bringing  chicken  broth,  custard 
puddings,  etc.  Some  of  the  police,  hearing 
of  our  difficulty,  created  a  fair  imitation  of 
aspic-jelly ;  it  would  not  have  been  voted 
successful  in  London  certainly,  but  it  was 
quite  eatable  and  pleasant,  if  a  little  odd. 
Pleasanter  still  was  the  kind  thought  which 
suggested  the  idea. 

Meanwhile  Dr.  Wilson  and  the  native 
boys  looked  after  the  patients  as  best  they 
could,  but  I  fear  that  these  were  very  un- 
comfortable. Fortunately  only  slight  cases 
were  admitted  whilst  we  were  ill,  with  the 
exception  of  one  poor  man,  who  was  brought 
and    who    never    recovered 

xin  IN  MASHONALAND  319 

consciousness,  I  was  able,  in  an  interval  of 
fever,  to  attend  to  him  when  he  was  brought 
in,  but  twelve  hours  before  he  died  was 
obliged  to  give  up  and  go  to  bed.  I  cannot 
find  words  to  say  how  miserable  it  made  us 
both,  to  lie  helpless  in  our  huts,  and  listen  to 
the  moans  of  the  dying  man.  Again  we  felt 
how  urgently  a  third  nurse  was  needed. 

We  were  not  quite  convalescent  when 
Dr.  Wilson  was  summoned  to  Beira,  where 
his  wife  had  arrived,  and  was  waiting  for 
him  to  escort  her  to  Umtali.  I  had  a  bad 
attack  of  fever  shortly  after  he  left,  but  for- 
tunately Sister  Lucy  escaped,  and  was  able 
to  look  after  me  and  such  patients  as  might 
be  admitted. 

One  morning  after  I  was  convalescent, 
we  were  busy  arranging  a  new  hut  which 
was  being  built  for  the  future  nurses,  and 
putting  a  few  finishing  touches  to  a  rustic 
porch,  which  we  had  added  to  our  sitting- 
hut,  when  a  smart-looking  horseman  rode  up 
to  the  compound.  It  was  the  Bishop,  riding 
"  Hatfield,"  the  Salisbury  steeplechaser.     He 

320  ADVENTURES  chap. 

dismounted,  and  advanced  with  out-stretched 
hands.  "Well,  you  two  wonderful  people," 
was  his  greeting,  "  I  am  rejoiced  and  sur- 
prised to  see  you  both  alive."  We  took 
Dr.  Knight  Bruce  over  the  little  hospital 
and  the  huts.  He  expressed  himself  as 
being  highly  pleased  with  all  the  arrange- 
ments ;  declared  that  he  had  not  expected  to 
find  anything  so  comfortable  and  civilised ; 
and  was  rejoiced  to  think  that  the  incoming 
nurses  would  suffer  little  or  no  hardships,  and 
could  settle  down  to  a  three  years'  spell  of 
work  without  being  discouraged  by  their 
surroundings.  The  Bishop  told  us  that  two 
of  his  nurses  were  from  University  College 
Hospital,  and  that  he  had  also  engaged  two 
colonial  nurses.  They  were  all  expected  in 
about  a  fortnight.  He  was  full  of  regret  for 
the  disorganisation  of  the  Mission,  feeling 
that  little  had  been  accomplished  since  its 
inauguration  two  years  beforehand.  He 
immediately  set  about  building  a  brick 
Mission  House,  one  hundred  feet  long,  and 
very  conveniently  arranged.     It  is  situated 

xin  IN  MASHONALAND  321 

close  to  the  hospital,  on  a  gentle  rise,  and 
commands  a  lovely  view.  The  building  was 
pushed  forward  most  energetically,  and,  at 
the  time  that  this  is  written,  is  probably 
nearly  completed. 

In  about  a  fortnight  after  the  Bishop's 
arrival,  the  waggons  bringing  up  the  new 
nurses  reached  Umtali.  The  two  English 
nurses  looked  like  settling  down  to  the  work  ; 
but  one  of  the  Colonial  ladies  was  barely 
twenty.  Both  she  and  her  companion  might, 
perhaps,  be  described  in  their  own  phraseology, 
as  u  gay  cups  of  tea,"  and  they  made  no  secret 
of  their  distaste  for  their  new  quarters.  They 
arrived  at  Umtali  on  Wednesday,  and  on  the 
Saturday  following  left  with  us  for  the  coast. 

The  day  before  our  departure  a  deputa- 
tion of  the  townsfolk  came  up  to  the  hospital, 
and  presented  us  with  an  address,  signed  by 
between  seventy  and  eighty  "  representative 
signatures,"  as  the  newspapers  say.  This 
demonstration  was  wholly  unexpected,  and 
very  touching.  Such  services  as  we  had 
been  able  to  render  were  made  far  too  much 


322  ADVENTURES  chap. 

of,  and  we  wished  we  had  been  able  to  do 
more.  The  township  seemed  especially 
pleased  at  our  having  started  a  fund  for  the 
erection  of  a  brick  hospital,  which  would  no 
doubt  have  been  nearly  finished  by  this  time, 
but  for  the  Matabele  outbreak. 

The  next  day  we  turned  our  backs  on 
Umtali,  and  set  out  for  Beira.  The  two 
Colonial  nurses  travelled  in  a  waggon  ;  Sister 
Lucy  and  I  were  carried  in  machilas ;  Dr. 
Rundell  of  the  Mission,  and  another  white 
man,  went  on  foot.  The  waggon  could,  of 
course,  go  no  farther  than  Chimoio,  on  account 
of  the  fly. 

Our  journey  down  was  most  uneventful, 
except  for  the  fact  that  Sister  Lucy  suffered 
terribly  from  repeated  attacks  of  fever.  She 
was  very  plucky  about  it,  and  submitted  with 
wonderful  patience  to  being  carried  along  in 
her  machila  at  a  rough  trot — which,  with  a 
temperature  of  105,  and  aching  limbs  and  head, 
must  have  been  almost  unendurable.  It  was 
a  red-letter  day  when  we  saw  the  railway  em- 
bankment winding  along  through  the  forest. 

xiii  IN  MASHONALAND  323 

The  plate-layers'  camp  was  at  the  forty 
mile  peg.  We  arrived  there  late  one  evening, 
and  the  next  morning  the  traffic  manager  ran 
us  down  in  trolleys  as  far  as  the  thirty-five 
mile  peg,  where  we  caught  "  the  down 
train."  Nothing  could  exceed  the  excitement 
of  our  carriers  who  had  followed  so  far,  push- 
ing the  trolleys,  when  they  saw  us  puffing 
away  in  the  train.  For  an  incredibly  long 
time  they  kept  up  with  the  train,  yelling  and 
bounding  over  the  veldt.  We  took  four  of 
them  with  us  in  a  truck,  and  they  shook  their 
hands  with  a  disdainful  gesture  at  the  friends 
they  left  behind. 

Arrived  at  Fontesvilla,  the  railway  ter- 
minus on  the  Pungwe,  we  were  in  doubt 
where  to  go,  when  a  Mr.  Cathcart,  proprietor 
of  a  large  store,  came  forward  and  offered  us 
hospitality.  He  and  his  partner  turned  out 
of  their  rooms  for  us,  and  did  all  in  their 
power  to  make  us  forget  the  hardships  of 
the  march.  We  had  just  missed  the  river 
steamer,  and  had  to  remain  two  days  in  the 
camp.    We  met  more  than  one  former  patient 


— amongst  them  Mr.  Holberg,  a  well-known 
hunter,  who  presented  us  with  some  pretty 
tusks.  We  went  boating  on  the  Pungwe, 
and  renewed  our  acquaintance  with  the  croco- 
diles. Sister  Lucy  picked  up  a  crocodile's 
egg,  which  she  proposed  to  bring  home.  It 
was  a  pestiferous  egg,  and  promised  to  be  a 
regular  white  elephant,  when  it  was  happily 

At  last  the  steamer  arrived,  and  early  one 
morning  we  went  on  board,  and  were  soon 
steaming  down  the  Pungwe.  This  time 
there  was  no  question  of  thirst,  hunger,  or 
discomfort.  Awnings  protected  us  from  the 
sun,  and  a  tidy  luncheon  was  served. 

Our  surprise,  when  we  reached  Beira,  was 
indeed  great.  Two  years  before,  it  had  been 
simply  a  flat  sandbank,  with  one  or  two  cor- 
rugated iron  houses  and  the  tents  of  the 
Portuguese  soldiers.  In  1893  we  found 
streets,  stores,  and  charming  houses  of  the 
American  chalet  type.  I  suppose  there  are 
about  four  hundred  inhabitants,  the  larger 
number  being  English.     There  was  a  primi- 

xin  IN  MASHONALAND  325 

tive  tramway,  too,  people  having  their  own 
trucks,  and  being  pushed  along  by  their  boys. 
The  streets  are  still  deep  in  sand,  through 
which  it  is  toilsome  to  plod  one's  way.  Mr. 
Hussey- Walsh,  the  Vice-Consul,  offered  hospi- 
tality to  Sister  Lucy  and  myself,  the  Colonial 
ladies  being  accommodated  elsewhere. 

A  large  chalet  had  been  provided  for 
the  Consul,  but  it  was  uninhabitable,  being 
placed  on  the  very  edge  of  the  mangrove 
swamps  which  make  that  part  of  Beira 
unhealthy.  Mr.  Hussey -Walsh  had,  there- 
fore, established  himself  in  a  tiny  cottage, 
delightfully  situated  on  the  sea  shore, — the 
waves  almost  dashed  into  the  little  verandah 
on  which  our  bedrooms  opened,  and  the 
fresh  salt  smell  blew  into  every  corner  of 
the  house.  Imagine  our  surprise  to  find 
that  the  Consul's  cook  and  factotum  was 
no  other  than  our  Malay  boy,  Jonosso. 
He  took  us  under  his  protection,  accom- 
panied us  when  shopping  in  the  Arab 
stores,  and  brought  his  chief  wives  to 
"  scrape  "  to  us. 

326     ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND     ch.  xiii 

We  stayed  eleven  days  with  the  Consul, 
and  nothing  could  equal  his  kindness.  He 
profited  by  the  fact  that  there  were  four 
English-speaking  women  in  Beira,  to  give 
a  dance  on  the  verandah.  There  were 
about  ten  men  to  each  woman,  and  to 
prevent  these  latter  from  dying  of  ex- 
haustion, intervals  between  the  dances  were 
filled  up  with  songs  and  rousing  choruses. 
Everybody  was  amused,  and  the  fame  of 
"  the  Consul's  ball  "  penetrated  to  the  interior 
of  the  Dark  Continent. 



We  leave  Beira — On  board  the  German  steamer  Kaiser 
— Dar-  es  -  Salaam  —  Evangelical  mission  —  Mission 
hospital — Emin  Pasha's  daughter,  Ferida — A  mad- 
man on  board — His  strange  diet — "We  can't  lock 
up  an  Englishman!"  —  His  death — Zanzibar — The 
English  mission — Splendid  organisation — The  hospital 
—  On  board  H.M.S.  Raleigh — Bishop  Smythies — 
Aden — The  Red  Sea — Untimely  sausages — Mr.  Wolf, 
the  German  explorer — Port  Said — Europe  at  last. 

During  the  eleven  days  we  spent  at  Beira 
we  lived  in  complete  uncertainty  as  to  our 
future  plans.  No  one  could  tell  us  what 
homeward-bound  steamer  would  be  the  first 
to  arrive.  The  Union  Company's  ships  run 
between  Cape  Town  and  Beira ;  whilst  the 
German  Company's  steamers  ply  between 
Natal  and  Hamburg,  touching  at  Mozam- 
bique, Zanzibar,  Naples,  and  other  ports. 
We  decided  on  leaving  by  the  first  steamer 
that  put   in,   and  on  the    27th    of  June  we 


saw  the  German  steamer  Kaiser  steaming 
into  the  bay.  Early  the  next  morning  the 
Consul  and  one  or  two  other  friends  took 
us  on  board  the  Kaiser,  a  large  and  fairly 
comfortable  ship,  the  saloon  and  cabins 
being  on  the  main  deck  and,  therefore, 
much  less  stuffy  than  those  on  the  ordinary 
Atlantic  steamer. 

Our  good-byes  being  said  we  set  out  for 
Mozambique,  the  first  port  at  which  we 
were  to  touch.  We  had  seen  Mozambique 
two  years  before,  and  knew  every  inch  of 
the  town,  and,  therefore,  were  not  much 
interested  in  our  journey  until  we  arrived 
at  Dar-es- Salaam.  This  German  settle- 
ment greatly  surprised  us.  The  Kaiser 
rounded  a  rocky  island,  and,  steaming  along 
a  narrow  channel,  suddenly  entered  a  land- 
locked bay  round  which  Dar-es- Salaam  is 
built.  Had  it  not  been  for  the  groves  of 
cocoanut  palms,  one  might  have  imagined 
oneself  at  Gmlinden  or  Baden.  Large 
white  stone  houses,  two  or  three  stories 
high,    with    brown    wooden    balconies   run- 

xiv  IN  MASHONALAND  329 

ning  round  them,  are  an  unusual  sight 
anywhere  in  Africa.  The  place  seemed 
astonishingly  flourishing,  and  we  wondered 
we  had  not  heard  more  about  it,  as  it 
looked  a  far  more  important  place  than 
Beira.  On  inquiry,  however,  we  discovered 
that  the  buildings  were  not  the  outcome 
of  individual  enterprise  as  at  Beira,  but 
were  nearly  all  built  by  the  Government. 
The  inhabitants  too  were  mostly  officials. 

Wishing  to  visit  the  Mission  Hospital, 
we  asked  our  way  of  a  magnificent  personage 
whose  white  uniform  was  resplendent  with 
gold  buttons  and  braid.  We  thought  he 
must  be  a  General  at  least,  but  discovered 
that  he  was  only  a  post-office  clerk.  He 
directed  us  to  the  hospital  and  mission  house 
belonging  to  the  German  Evangelical  Mis- 
sion. Large  and  well  -  cultivated  grounds 
surrounded  the  hospital,  and  afforded  work 
to  a  number  of  natives  whose  picturesque 
locations,  scattered  here  and  there,  were 
beautifully  kept.  An  elderly  deaconess  re- 
ceived us  very  amiably,  and  took  us  over  the 


hospital.  She  told  us  that  the  nursing  work 
was  entirely  done  by  Brothers,  she  and  the 
other  deaconess  having  nothing  to  do  with 
the  sick,  but  being  altogether  employed  in 
cooking  and  keeping  house.  In  the  rare 
case  of  a  woman  being  admitted  to  hospital 
they  nursed  her.  The  wards  were  large  and 
very  clean  ;  but  they  looked  comfortless,  and 
seemed  to  be  recklessly  ventilated,  a  small 
hurricane  blowing  through  them  flapping 
the  coverings  of  the  beds  and  beating  directly 
on  the  patients'  heads.  Kind  as  the  nursing 
Brothers  seemed,  we  both  felt  that  we  should 
have  been  very  sorry  to  know  that  any  one  we 
cared  for  was  in  the  Dar-es-Salaam  Hospital. 
We  were  struck  by  the  absence  of  any  in- 
terest, outside  their  own  work,  shown  by  the 
Deaconesses  and  the  Brothers.  They  had 
never  heard  of  Mashonaland,  of  hospitals  at 
Cape  Town  and  Kimberley,  and  they  did 
not  even  know  that  there  was  a  large  English 
mission  close  by  at  Zanzibar.  They  had 
heard  of  Roman  Catholic  missions,  and 
appeared  to  think  that  all  the  hospital  work 

xiv  IN  MASHONALAND  331 

in  the  world  was  either  done  by  them  or 
by  their  own  Evangelical  Mission.  They 
gave  us  excellent  coffee  and  cake,  despatch- 
ing us  back  to  our  ship  with  many  good 

As  we  strolled  back  to  the  landing-place 
we  met  the  "  Governor's  lady,"  as  she  is 
generally  called,  a  fair-haired  German  in  a 
startling  toilette,  with  some  unusually  fair, 
fat  children.  Amongst  these  a  melan- 
choly-looking coloured  child  attracted  our 
attention.  We  were  told  that  this  was 
Ferida,  daughter  of  Emin  Pasha.  She  came 
on  board  that  evening  in  charge  of  Sister 
Marie  of  the  German  Red  Cross  Sisterhood, 
who  was  to  take  her  to  Berlin,  and  place  her 
under  the  care  of  her  fathers  sister.  Ferida 
was  a  wizened-looking  child  of  about  eight 
or  nine,  only  redeemed  from  positive  ugliness 
by  a  pair  of  magnificent  Eastern  eyes — large, 
lustrous,  and  solemn.  She  understood  and 
spoke  a  little  German,  French,  and  Italian  ; 
but  said  little  or  nothing,  made  no  noise,  and 
moped  about  in  corners. 

332  ADVENTURES  chap. 

We  had  another  interesting  traveller  on 
board,  in  the  shape  of  a  madman.  This  un- 
fortunate was  shipped  on  board  the  Kaiser, 
at  Durban  I  think,  and  soon  proved  very- 
troublesome.  He  wandered  all  over  the 
ship ;  chiefly  frequenting  the  cabins  of  the 
second-class  passengers,  amongst  whom  he 
travelled.  He  ate  the  soap,  drank  hair- 
wash  and  eau  de  cologne,  used  the  tooth- 
brushes, and  picked  up  any  stray  coins  he 
could  find.  Every  now  and  then  he  was 
searched  and  his  unlawful  acquisitions  taken 
away  from  him.  When  we  asked  why  he 
was  not  shut  up  in  a  cabin  and  taken  out 
under  supervision,  we  were  much  amused 
at  being  told  that  it  was  because  he  was 
an  Englishman.  "  If  he  were  German,"  said 
the  Captain,  "  I  would  lock  him  up  ;  but  he 
is  a  bold  man  who  locks  up  an  Englishman." 
The  poor  madman  never  reached  home  ; 
between  the  diet  of  soap  and  hair-wash,  and 
the  heat  of  the  Red  Sea,  his  health  gave 
way.  He  had  an  apoplectic  seizure,  and 
died  without  recovering  consciousness. 

xiv  IN  MASHONALAND  333 

Zanzibar  was  the  first  really  oriental-look- 
ing place  we  had  ever  seen,  and  we  revelled 
in  the  narrow  streets ;  the  shops  full  of 
picturesque  rubbish  ;  the  open  sheds  where 
we  could  watch  the  silver-workers  hammer- 
ing out  designs  on  quaintly-shaped  cups, 
bangles,  and  anklets.  We  fell  easy  victims 
to  the  embroidery -sellers  and  moonstone 
merchants  who  thronged  the  ship,  and  who 
began  by  asking  ^20,  and  ended  by  grate- 
fully accepting  10s.  for  the  same  goods. 

Of  course  we  were  curious  to  see  the 
English  Mission  Hospital,  having  heard  a 
great  deal  about  it,  and  being  much  in- 
terested in  it.  The  English  Church,  or 
Cathedral  as  I  think  it  is  called,  surprised 
us  by  its  size  and  beauty.  It  is  large 
and  finely  proportioned,  built  of  white 
stone,  and  stands  in  the  midst  of  a  group 
of  graceful  cocoa-nut  palms.  The  Bishop 
was  holding  a  synod  in  the  church  as  we 
looked  in,  and  a  clergyman,  kneeling  near 
the  entrance,  who  proved  to  be  the  Chaplain 
of   H.M.S.    Raleigh,    rose   from    his    place, 

334  ADVENTURES  chap. 

and  conducted  us  to  the  neighbouring 
Mission  House.  Here  we  were  received 
by  a  charming  old  lady,  who  manages 
the  house,  and  looks  after  the  wellbeing 
of  Bishop  and  clergy.  She  was  having 
tea  prepared  for  the  Synod,  and  proposed 
taking  us  across  to  the  hospital,  request- 
ing us  to  return  to  tea.  To  this  we  gladly 
assented,  and,  following  our  guide,  crossed 
a  small  open  space  leading  to  the  hospital. 
Ascending  a  short  flight  of  steps  we  found 
ourselves  in  a  delightfully  cool  recess — 
half  room,  half  loggia  —  and  here  we  saw 
a  convalescent  mission-worker  lying  on  a 
comfortable  sofa,  whilst  another  was  em- 
broidering at  a  small  table.  It  was  a  cosy 
and  homelike  scene. 

One  of  the  nurses,  in  a  fresh  white 
uniform,  then  appeared,  and  took  us  over 
the  building.  We  admired  the  comfortably 
furnished  rooms  provided  for  Europeans, 
and  the  nurses'  pretty  bedrooms,  each  open- 
ing on  a  broad  balcony.  We  then  visited 
the  beautifully  -  ordered    native    wards  ;    the 

xiv  IN  MASHONALAND  335 

large,  well-supplied  dispensary ;  the  spotless 
kitchens ;  and  were  delighted  with  the  air 
of  orderly  activity  which  prevailed  in  every 
department.  The  nurses  looked  fagged. 
They  told  us  that  the  work  was  happily 
rather  slack  just  then;  one  of  the  four 
had  fever,  and  the  work  had  been  ex- 
ceptionally heavy  for  the  other  three.  But, 
though  looking  a  little  worn  and  weary, 
they  were  very  bright  and  cheery,  and 
evidently  thoroughly  content  with  their  work 
and  surroundings. 

We  carried  away  a  very  pleasant  im- 
pression of  our  visit,  and  went  back  to 
the  Mission  House,  where  we  found  a 
number  of  clergy  at  tea.  We  were  rather 
disappointed  to  find  that  the  Bishop,  feeling 
very  tired,  had  retired  to  his  room.  During 
the  meal  we  heard  a  great  deal  about  the 
Mission,  its  schools  and  industrial  settle- 
ments ;  and  it  was  delightful  to  note  the 
earnestness  of  our  entertainers,  and  their 
complete  trust  in  the  Bishop. 

We  met  Bishop  Smythies  the    next  day 

336  ADVENTURES  chap. 

on  board  H.M.S.  Raleigh.  Admiral  Bed- 
ford had  given  us  tea,  and  shown  us 
some  native  curios,  and,  as  we  said  good- 
bye to  him,  we  met  the  Bishop,  who  had 
been  entertained  by  the  Chaplain.  He  was 
exceedingly  kind  to  us,  and  said  many  en- 
couraging things  about  our  work  up  country, 
which  seemed  familiar  to  him.  We  fully 
appreciated  the  charm  of  his  grave  and 
dignified  manner,  and  easily  understood  the 
sentiments  of  veneration  and  personal  de- 
votion to  him  with  which  all  his  workers 
are  inspired.  On  all  sides  we  heard  of  the 
splendid  work  which  the  Zanzibar  Mission 
is  accomplishing,  and  of  its  admirable  organi- 
sation. Mr.  Eugen  Wolf,  the  German 
explorer,  who  joined  the  Kaiser  at  Zanzibar, 
told  us  that  he  had  seen  most  of  the  various 
Missions  which  are  scattered  over  Africa, 
and  that  he  considered  the  Mission  over 
which  Bishop  Smythies  presided  to  be  the 
only  one  which  stood  on  an  equal  footing 
with  the  Roman  Catholic  Missions. 

From  Zanzibar  to  Aden  the  journey  was 

xiv  IN  MASHONALAND  337 

uneventful  and  monotonous.  Most  of  the 
other  passengers  knew  the  east  coast  well, 
but  Sister  Lucy  and  I  were  childishly  de- 
lighted with  the  Aden  camel  market  and  all 
the  odd  figures  riding  about  on  camels.  We 
had  only  a  few  hours  in  which  to  amuse  our- 
selves with  these  strange  sights  before  the 
Kaiser  set  off  again,  and  steamed  away  into 
the  dreaded  Red  Sea.  It  was  hotter  in  the 
Red  Sea  than  any  one  belonging  the  ship 
had  ever  known  it  to  be.  One  lived  night 
and  day  in  a  sort  of  Turkish  bath,  there 
were  no  punkahs  in  the  saloon,  and  I  must 
say  the  food  was  hardly  in  keeping  with  the 
state  of  the  atmosphere.  I  remember  one 
stifling  day  the  Captain,  as  he  sat  down  to 
luncheon,  announced  that  the  glass  was  at 
no°  in  the  saloon.  Immediately  afterwards 
an  enormous  dish  of  steaming  sausages  and 
sauerkraut  was  handed  round,  and  some  of 
the  ship's  officers  actually  helped  themselves 
largely.  Most  of  the  English  fled  in  despair, 
and  collapsed  on  their  deck  chairs  in  a  limper 
condition  than  before.  It  was  at  Aden  that 


we  heard  of  the  loss  of  the  Victoria ;  and  the 
Germans  on  board,  some  of  whom  were  naval 
officers,  spent  their  after-dinner  leisure  during 
the  rest  of  the  journey  in  manoeuvring  ima- 
ginary fleets,  made  of  little  balls  of  bread, 
and  explaining  what  the  English  officers 
ought  to  have  done  and  didn't  do. 

The  only  person  of  resource  on  board  was 
Mr.  Eugen  Wolf,  whom  I  have  mentioned 
before.  He  had  just  returned  from  Uganda, 
from  whence  he  had  made  a  record  march  to 
the  coast.  We  could  not  get  him  to  talk 
about  the  Uganda  question,  however.  All 
he  would  say  was  that  Sir  G.  Portal  was 
a  "splendid  fellow."  Mr.  Wolf  is  a  bril- 
liant linguist,  and  spoke  English  remarkably 
well.  He  was  more  at  home  on  board  the 
Kaiser  than  the  Captain,  and  whenever 
anything  unusual  was  required,  or  anyone 
wanted  help  or  advice,  "  Go  to  Mr.  Wolf," 
was  the  cry.  This  tireless  wanderer  has 
bought  a  charming  retreat  at  Taormina,  and 
there  he  says  he  intends  to  settle  down  and 
end    his    days ;    but    at    present    he    is    far 

xiv  IN  MASHONALAND  339 

from  the  "  settling-down  "  period,  and  very 
likely  is  even  now  starting  off  for  the  utter- 
most end  of  the  earth. 

We  steamed  very  slowly  through  the 
Suez  Canal,  and  arrived  late  one  evening  at 
Port  Said.  We  were  to  spend  the  night  here 
coaling,  so  with  one  accord  we  all  went  on 
shore,  the  town  being  brightly  lit  up,  and 
thronged  with  people. 

Here  we  possessed  ourselves  of  some  of 
the  gold  embroidery  for  which  Port  Said  is 
famous,  and  ran  in  and  out  of  the  curious 
concert  rooms  and  dancing  halls  which 
abound.  The  doctor  of  the  Kaiser  accom- 
panied us  on  this  tour  of  inspection,  and 
generally  swept  us  out  of  these  odd  places  of 
amusement  almost  as  soon  as  we  had  entered 
them.  I  suppose  a  great  deal  of  fighting 
goes  on  in  them.  The  dancing  halls  seemed 
very  dull.  The  audience  sat  drinking  beer 
at  little  tables,  whilst  women  in  long  flowing 
draperies  glided  about  on  a  raised  platform 
waving  their  arms,  and  looking  like  so  many 

34©      ADVENTURES  IN  MASHONALAND    ch.  xiv 

We  left  Port  Said  early  the  next  morning, 
and  after  a  four  days'  journey  cast  anchor  at 

Those  who  have  followed  us  in  our 
wanderings  can  easily  imagine  with  what 
joy  and  emotion  we  found  ourselves  once 
more  in  Europe.  We  both  felt  that  we  had 
hardly  deserved  such  good  fortune,  and 
vowed  that  we  would  never  leave  it  again. 
The  Arabs,  however,  have  a  proverb  which 
says  :  "He  who  has  tasted  of  African  water, 
must  return  to  drink  of  it  once  more  "  ;  and 
certainly  there  is  a  penetrating  charm  about 
the  "  Dark  Continent "  which  must  be  felt, 
but  cannot  be  described.  So,  in  spite  of  all 
the  joy  of  return,  the  warmth  of  home  com- 
fort, the  pleasure  of  familiar  ways,  I  cannot 
feel  at  all  certain  that  either  of  us  has  looked 
her  last  upon  the  Southern  Cross.  /> 


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